45th anniversary of Dublin-Monaghan bombings

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Flowers have been laid at a memorial for the victims of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings - as victims’ families and survivors called for full disclosure of all sensitive documents relating to the atrocities.

A wreath-laying ceremony took place on Friday at a Dublin memorial to remember the 33 people killed by loyalist bombers. Among those who laid wreaths were rock stars Larry Mullen Jnr and Gavin Friday.

It marked the 45th anniversary of the blasts, when UVF paramilitaries acting in collusion with British forces detonated four no-warning bombs in Dublin and Monaghan on May 17 1974.

Their families want the British government to release classified security files relating to the deaths.

The Justice for the Forgotten lobby group has fought a long-running campaign for an open inquiry into allegations that British Crown agents colluded with the UVF to plot the co-ordinated and sophisticated attacks.

There have also been calls for the Dublin government to release their secret files about the attack.

Martha O’Neill, the widow of victim Edward O’Neill, said that files deposited with the Taoiseach’s office could assist families. There was a sense of cynicism when Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan told those gathered at Friday’s commemoration that he appreciated it was “another difficult day for each person who is here to remember loved ones lost in the atrocity” as well as those injured in the bombings.

He again claimed his government would “persevere relentlessly” in its efforts to seek the truth behind the events.

He said: “The Government has worked consistently on all-party motions which call on the British Government to allow access by an independent international judicial figure to all of the original documents in their possession.

“I know that you’re frustrated that these motions have not yet been adequately responded to. I want to assure you that we will not give up in our efforts.”

A minute silence was held and prayers were led by Fr Tom Clowe and Reverend Trevor Sargent.

Dublin Lord Mayor Nial Ring told those gathered on Talbot Street that he vividly remembered the day and the sense of fear it created. He said: “We were playing football on the street in Ballybough and heard the Dublin bombs exploding.

“My mother was working in Olhausen’s Butchers at the time and, although I was young, I recall the sense of anxiety and fear in the whole area as people waited for loved ones to come home.

“My mam did - unfortunately many others did not.”

Dublin mother Maeve Taylor and her three daughters were among those injured in the attack.

The family had been in the city shopping for Holy Communion shoes when the bombs were detonated.

Ms Taylor, now 92, attended Friday’s commemoration with her daughter Michele Keane to lay a wreath for the victims.

She said she had never missed a commemoration.

Ms Keane, who was 11 at the time, said: “I get shivers every time I come up the street.”

She recalled: “We heard the first bomb and mum had a big black coat on and she looked to the right, and she saw a car with a gas tankard with nails sticking out of it. She just wrapped us in this big black coat and said run.

“We had only got ten yards and it blew up.”

Ms Keane said they wanted both the Irish and British governments to release any information they have, so the families could get the justice they deserve.

She said: “I can’t see it happening any day soon though. It’s been 45 years now and it hasn’t been released.

“We would like answers, but in saying that, a lot of the perpetrators apparently aren’t around any more.”

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, who attended the events, said the Glennane gang based in South Armagh which included UVF, MI5, RUC, as well as UDR members, had carried out the attack. She paid tribute to to the families and to Justice for the Forgotten.

“Their struggle and search for truth and justice has been a long and a difficult one and continues to be delayed by this British government,” she said. “This must end.”

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