by Democrat reporter
THE LONG-AWAITED Barron report into the 1974 Dublin–Monaghan bombings has found evidence of collusion between some elements of the British security forces and the loyalist paramilitaries who carried out the atrocities. Judge Barron's report into the bombings, which left 33 people dead, was critical of police on both sides of the Border.
The bombings took place while Protestant workers held a general strike in Northern Ireland to bring down the power-sharing government in Northern Ireland set up under the Sunningdale Agreement. Three perfectly timed car bombs killed 26 people and injured hundreds more during rush-hour in Dublin on May 17 1974, in what was described as ‘daylight hell’. An hour later a stolen car exploded outside a pub in the border town of Monaghan, killing seven people.
It was the biggest mass murder in the history of the Irish Republic. No one claimed responsibility for the slaughter, and no one has stood trial. Some 240 people were injured in the attacks. Many, particularly in Dublin, believe the bombings were a warning shot from British intelligence for the Irish government not to interfere in Northern Ireland. At least three of the bombing team, all now dead, have been identified as paid British informers.
Jane Winter, the director of British Irish Rights Watch, a human rights monitoring group which made detailed submissions to the investigation, said: “Forensic evidence suggested that the bombs in Dublin were very much more sophisticated than any bombs loyalists had used before or since. All went off within one and a half minutes of each other — a technical achievement never matched before or since. The implication is that they had outside help in making these bombs.”
She said if collusion were found, there would be grave consequences for Britain internationally. “Here we are gaily telling the world how to run its own human rights affairs and holding ourselves up as an example of a developed democracy which doesn't do wicked things. But if Britain did collude with loyalists to bomb another country, that is an act of war.”
Speaking in the Dáil, the tánaiste Mary Harney thanked Mr Justice Barron on behalf of the Irish government for his work on the report, and said she had no doubt its findings would be debated in the House in the New Year. The Oireachtas committee met in private to consider the report and is expected to discuss its contents with its author, Justice Henry Barron.
A report into the bombings and allegations that British security services colluded with the loyalist paramilitary UVF was ordered more than three years ago by the Irish government. No one has ever been charged in connection with the offences.
Representatives of Justice for the Forgotten, which represents about 150 survivors of the attacks and victims', met the taoiseach in private at Government Buildings. The group is expected to call for a full public inquiry. Earlier the attorney for the bereaved families, Mr Greg O'Neill, said he has been led to believe that Mr. Justice Barron had “drawn conclusions which appear to be quite stark.”
Those who were killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings on 17th May, 1974 were: Patrick Askin (44) Co. Monaghan Josie Bradley (21) Co. Offaly Marie Butler (21) Co. Waterford Anne Byrne (35) Dublin Thomas Campbell (52) Co. Monaghan Simone Chetrit (30) France Thomas Croarkin (36) Co. Monaghan John Dargle (80) Dublin Concepta Dempsey (65) Co. Louth Colette (20) & Baby Doherty, Dublin Patrick Fay (47), Dublin & Co. Louth Elizabeth Fitzgerald (59) Dublin Breda Bernadette Grace (34) Dublin and Co. Kerry Archie Harper (73) Co. Monaghan Antonio Magliocco, (37) Dublin & Italy May McKenna (55) Co. Tyrone Anne Marren (20) Co. Sligo Anna Massey (21) Dublin Dorothy Morris (57) Dublin John (24), Anna (22), Jacqueline (17 months) & Anne-Marie (5 months) O'Brien, Dublin Christina O'Loughlin (51), Dublin Edward John O'Neill (39), Dublin Baby Martha O'Neill, Dublin, (Stillborn) Marie Phelan (20), Co. Waterford Siobhán Roice (19), Wexford Town Maureen Shields (46), Dublin Jack Travers (28), Monaghan Town Breda Turner (21), Co. Tipperary John Walsh (27), Dublin Peggy White (44), Monaghan Town George Williamson (72), Co. Monaghan.
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