Dublin Monaghan Bombings

The slaughter of 33 innocent people by loyalist bombs in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974 was one of the biggest atrocities of the "Troubles" in Ireland in the last 30 years. It defies belief then, that Judge Barron who conducted an inquiry at the behest of the Dail into the handling of the investigation of this atrocity by the security forces, found the most incredible bungling by the gardai and indeed the Fine Gael/Labour Government of the day.

The Judge found that methods of inquiry that should have been routine, such as showing photographs of suspects to people who thought they saw the bombers, were not carried out.

Also, when the British Government told the Irish Government that some of the suspected bombers were in custody in the North, the gardai did not even ask to question them. However, serious questions have also to be asked about the amount of co-operation that Blair and the British Government gave to the Barron investigation.

In his report, Judge Barron states that out of 58,000 documents in the Northern Ireland office in some way relating to the atrocity, he received not a single original document. The Judge said that this limited the scope of his investigation.

Over the past year, I have questioned the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern about this issue in the Dail on many occasions. I asked him why, if his relationship with Blair was so good, the full intelligence files on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings would not be made available to the investigation.

The Taoiseach replied that he accepted the word of Prime Minister Blair, that every co-operation would be given; which prompted me to ask him very recently whether the Prime Minister perhaps, thought him to be as gullible on this issue as he was when he accepted that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which were an immediate and present threat to certain countries.

For many years the organisation Justice for the Forgotten, made up of victims and relatives of those killed in the bombings, have been pushing for the full truth to be told.

They continue to call for a full and transparent public inquiry which they feel might yield more of the truth and put more pressure on the British Government to co-operate in terms of information that is available but has not come forth as yet.

As a representative of the Socialist Party, I fully support the relatives in this demand and will continue to assist and call for this in the Dail. In order for the truth to emerge from such an inquiry, all documents of the British state and its secret service must be made public. Then the relatives may find out what really happened. Then working class people in Ireland and Britain may discover how much the British state was involved in this atrocity.

The Dublin and Monaghan atrocities point up the utter futility of the methods of paramilitary terror in resolving any issues affecting working people in society. Not only are the methods of individual terror divisive in the working class, invariably it is innocent working class people who suffer the consequences of the atrocities carried out.

These atrocities should be a constant reminder to us of the need to push forward a strategy to overcome the sectarian divisions on this island and this is a task that can only be achieved by working class people, Protestant and Catholic, coming together to resolve the crucial economic and social questions confronting them in this society and with the alternative of a new, democratic and socialist society in place of the present system which has traditionally relied on divide and rule to survive.

Previous columns by Joe Higgins are available in our sitemap

This article is from the Feb. 2004 edition of Socialist Voice.

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