The victims of the worst day of the recent conflict in Ireland should be told the truth, a campaigner has said.
A minute’s silence was observed during the wreath laying ceremony to mark the 44th anniversary of the Dublin/Monaghan bombings on Dublin’s Talbot street.
The ceremony took place at a memorial to 33 killed by loyalist bombers on Thursday. Their families want the British government to release secret files relating to the massacre in which British collusion is strongly suspected.
Four no-warning bombs were detonated in a co-ordinated manner on May 17, 1974. Three bombs were detonated during a Friday rush-hour on Parnell Street, Talbot Street and South Leinster Street to maximise fatalities as people made their way home and to train stations in Dublin.
A fourth bomb exploded about an hour and a half later in Monaghan in what was believed to be a diversionary tactic to allow the bombers cross the border and return to the North. No one has ever been charged over the bombings.
The Justice for the Forgotten lobby group has fought a long-running campaign for an open inquiry into evidence that British state agents were among those who plotted and co-ordinated the sophisticated attacks.
Spokeswoman Margaret Urwin said: “When people talk about justice they are often meaning prosecutions and so on. We have been campaigning now for 25 years, since 1993 basically.
“What the families have always asked for, demanded, is for the truth rather than prosecutions. I don’t think they ever expect justice in that sense but what they really want to get is as much of the truth as possible.”
After years of delay, a consultation has begun on measures to address the past conflict, including mechanisms to reinvestigate past wrongdoing and many unresolved killings.
Ms Urwin said: “We hope that the mechanisms of the Stormont House Agreement will soon be established. That may also help in freeing them up a bit more to release these documents.”
Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan also took part in the ceremony.
He said: “We will persevere in our efforts to seek out the truth behind those events and, hopefully, to secure some measure of comfort for you.”
He claimed his government had worked consistently to implement the previous motions of the Dublin parliament which call on the British government to allow independent access to all original documents in their possession relating to the bombings. These have all been ignored by successive British governments, he said.
“I know you are frustrated that these motions have not yet been responded to and I share your frustration. However, I want to assure you that we will not give up in our efforts.”
The Minister also spoke about his determination to achieve progress through the new consultation.
He said: “The Irish government is determined to play our part in ensuring that the Stormont House legacy bodies are established in a way that will meet the legitimate needs and expectations of all victims and survivors. The Tanaiste continues his work with the British government and the Northern Ireland parties to achieve this.
“Dealing effectively with the legacy of the past will be one way to honour the memory of all those killed and injured in the dark days of the troubles, including those victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings who are foremost in our thoughts today.”