Truth and justice ‘not the property of the few’
Truth and justice ‘not the property of the few’


On the 42nd anniversary of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, which killed 33 people, a Dublin government minister said he would continue to repeat demands that the British security papers on the attacks be opened.

A wreath-laying ceremony - organised by Justice for the Forgotten, which campaigns for an investigation into British state collusion in the 1974 massacre - was held at the memorial on Talbot Street in Dublin, where one of the three bombs in the capital exploded.

Two others bombs were detonated on Parnell Street and South Leinster Street in the co-ordinated attacks in the middle of the evening rush hour on May 17.

About an hour and a half later the fourth no-warning bomb was set off in Monaghan town with the atrocities blamed on the Ulster Volunteer Force.

The British government’s steadfast refusal to release its files on the attacks is increasingly being seen as proof that it colluded in the bombings. This year it made no comment on the anniversary.

U2 band members Bono and Adam Clayton attended the anniversary mass in Dublin ahead of the wreath laying.

Victims campaigner Alan McBride addressed the relatives and campaigners at the memorial and said the question of truth and justice is as relevant today as it was in 1974.

Mr McBride, whose wife Sharon died in the 1993 Shankill Road bomb in which British ‘dirty tricks ‘has also been implicated, said: “The question of dealing with the past in NI is not really about money, it’s about political will. There has always been obstacle and barrier that we have to get beyond,” he said.

“At the moment they seem to be raised by the British government in relation to national security.

“Truth and justice cannot be the property of the few. The families need truth, they need justice and they need support. This is not going to go away.”

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams also called for the classified documents to be opened.

“It is vital that the new government lives up to the need to ensure the utmost pressure is put on the British administration to release their files,” he said.


At the wreath-laying ceremony, one of the victims recalled his own experience. Derek Byrne, now aged 56, was 10ft away when the first of four UVF car bombs exploded.

Then aged 14, he was just two weeks into his first job and he worked through his dinner hour that day as he was saving to buy a new pair of football boots. He loved football and was to travel to England that night for a tournament. He also had a trial coming up with an English club.

At about 5.25pm, a car pulled in and Derek began to fill it up. “This will be the last one in,” he thought to himself.

“I was blown against the petrol tank on the other side of the road. I remember waking up and the priest was giving me absolution. I remember being put in an ambulance,” he said.

“I remember the pains. I remember the screaming. I remember the Italian man out of the chipper. He was decapitated. His head was gone. There had been a family there but all I could see was the pram. I found out later that the whole family was killed.

“I still had the nozzle in my hand, and it went straight through it, cutting all the tendons. I didn’t lose consciousness until the second bomb went off. I don’t know whether it was the shock or the loss of blood or what.”

Byrne was brought to Jervis Street Hospital by ambulance and was pronounced dead on arrival. His body was wheeled into the morgue, but three hours later he awoke. “I was brought straight to theatre and spent the next 18 hours there,” he said.

“They thought I was dead. They had no name for me and couldn’t identify me until that Sunday when a local priest came across me. I was there for about three months and then brought out to the National Rehabilitation Hospital where I was for 18 months.”

The bombing has had a catastrophic effect on Byrne, his quality of life, and his ability to hold down in a job in the 42 years since the explosion. He has had 33 operations to date and is still regularly attending hospitals.

“I’m still having shrapnel taken out of my body,” he says. “I’m waiting to get the left knee done. Then, after that, they’re going to do the right knee and the hip. There’s shrapnel in there that has to be taken out. I’m on the waiting list.”

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