Irish Times
18 May 2012

THERE IS a continuing need for an independent international inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 17th, 1974, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said yesterday.

This was the unanimous view of both Houses of the Oireachtas,

“Families still have unanswered questions about what happened to their loved ones, about why it happened and how it happened,” he said.

The Dáil and Seanad had “previously and unanimously urged the British government to allow access to documents relevant to these events,” he said. The Taoiseach had raised the issue with British prime minister David Cameron, and the Tánaiste had done so with Northern Secretary Owen Paterson, he said.

The Minister was responding to Cavan-Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin in the Dáil yesterday, on the 38th anniversary of the bombings that killed 33 people and injured over 100 more.

At a Mass in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral commemorating those who died, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin remarked that while it was said that time was a great healer “certain pain, however, remains forever. Even the regular challenge of day-to-day life over 38 years does not heal the sense of loss that many of you feel. On a day like today, the sense of loss is actually heightened.”

Addressing survivors of the bombings and families of victims in the congregation, he said: “I can only imagine what is going on in each of your hearts here today as you remember.” There was, he said, “probably no greater tribute to your loved ones who are now with the Lord than the fact that you still come together each year in peace and prayerfulness.

“Sadly you remain with the burden of not knowing the full truth of what happened on that day. Hurt and pain remain in your hearts.”

The names of all victims were read out at the Mass during Prayers of the Faithful.

Earlier, wreaths were laid by relatives at the memorial to victims of the bombings on Dublin’s Talbot Street. In a short address senior counsel Cormac O’Dulachain, who works with the Justice for the Forgotten group, which has sought further inquiry into the bombings, said it was “both a private and public event”.

Addressing the relatives, he said: “By your presence here you remind us all of the inhumanity of car bombings.”

It was also “a dignified protest, a protest that there is a full story yet to unfold. A protest at a partial unfinished inquiry” and “that justice has not yet been done.”

Speakers were introduced by Pat Fay, whose father, Patrick, was killed in the Parnell Street bomb that day. Bernie McNally, who survived the Talbot Street bomb, read the names of victims.

Also there was Justice for the Forgotten spokeswoman Margaret Urwin, Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Andrew Montague, Cavan-Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith, Sinn Féin TDs Seán Crowe and Aenghus Ó Snodaigh, Socialist TD Clare Daly and Independent TD Mick Wallace.

No group claimed responsibility for the 1974 bombings, for which loyalists were blamed, with allegations of British army collusion.