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 Header Item Dublin and Monaghan Bombings: Motion (Resumed) (Continued)
 Header Item Adjournment Debate Matters
 Header Item Dublin and Monaghan Bombings: Motion (Resumed)

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 910 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Brendan Smith: Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith] I raised each time with them the need for the British Government to respond positively to the unanimous call of Dáil Éireann for British co-operation with a full and proper investigation of the Monaghan and Dublin bombings. I took the opportunity consistently in this House to raise these issues and to raise the total non-response by the British Government to the unanimous motions passed here in May 2008 and in 2001 regarding the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the need for an eminent legal person to have access to the papers and files pertaining to them.

  We are all aware that in the period known as the Troubles there were many days of terrible anguish, suffering and murder on this island, caused by paramilitary groups, some masquerading as so-called republicans and some masquerading as so-called loyalists. Unfortunately, many people were murdered through the collusion of the British state forces as well. I think of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and of the bombing in Belturbet in my own county in December 1972. Again, we have the British Government trotting out the lame excuse of national security considerations in regard to the details that might become available to the institutions that were proposed in the Stormont House Agreement more than 12 months ago. It is essential that the methods proposed in that agreement would be advanced and that the British Government would co-operate fully and not put a road block in the way of those institutions, which could be so beneficial if they were established.

  As has been mentioned many times in this House earlier today, we are all aware that unfortunately in May 1974 some 34 people were murdered in Dublin and Monaghan and 300 people injured. Nobody has been brought to justice for this. Those atrocities resulted in the highest number of casualties on any one day during that difficult era commonly referred to as the Troubles. The UVF, a loyalist paramilitary group, claimed responsibility for the bombings, but there are credible allegations that elements of the British security forces colluded with the UVF in those bombings. There have been many incidences in which nobody was brought to justice for horrific crimes.

  It is important that we constantly remind ourselves of the very good work carried out by Anne Cadwallader in her publication Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland, in which she refers to 120 murders committed by loyalist paramilitaries and the clear evidence that some of them were armed from UDR depots. Only one person of those 120 had an association with a paramilitary group; one person was a member or was associated with the IRA at that time. The rest were all innocent people, involved in the GAA, the SDLP and other general community groups. They were murdered by loyalists and in many instances those loyalists were armed from UDR depots. It is appalling that no progress has been made in bringing about justice and having a thorough, necessary and genuine investigation into the murders. I also want to quote today, as I did previously, another extract from Anne Cadwallader's book.

In between the Dublin Bombings of 1st December 1972 and the 20th January, 1973, Fermanagh-based members of the UDR and UVF carried out three bombings within an hour - Clones (County Monaghan) Belturbet (County Cavan) and Pettigo (County Donegal) - all on 28th December 1972. Two teenagers, Geraldine O'Reilly (aged fifteen) [from Belturbet] and Paddy Stanley (aged sixteen) [from Clara, County Offaly], were killed in Belturbet.

  I am very glad that the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality is here. She will recall that on numerous occasions I have raised the case of the Belturbet bombings and the need for a full investigation into the horrific murder of two teenagers on that fateful December day. We need to have the co-operation of the Northern Ireland authorities. People on the street will talk about who was responsible for those murders. That is no good to the families of those two young teenagers who were murdered on that night. Again, the Government, through An Taoiseach and at Government level, must insist that the British Government respond magnanimously and positively to the unanimous call of this House in May 2008, in May 2011 and again today. It is well beyond time that the victims get the truth, which is the least they deserve. Unfortunately, that has not been forthcoming.

Debate adjourned.

Adjournment Debate Matters

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I wish to advise the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given under Standing Order 23(3) and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Thomas P. Broughan - provision of full local day services for young school leavers on the autism spectrum in Dublin Bay North and Fingal; (2) Deputy David Cullinane - health and safety defects in homes in Ceol na Mara in Kill in County Waterford in relation to statutory fire obligations, the need for remedial works and supports for residents; (3) Deputy Pat Buckley - the higher rate of incidences of cancer in Cobh in County Cork; (4) Deputy Lisa Chambers - the status of the N5 Westport to Turlough road project in County Mayo; (5) Deputy Dara Calleary - delays in accessing speech and language therapy services and associated audiology services in Ballina, County Mayo; (6) Deputy Dessie Ellis - funding of the youngballymun project; (7) Deputy Alan Farrell - the need for the Competition Authority to investigate the insurance industry; (8) Deputy Anne Rabbitte - the need for the Health Service Executive to expedite the appointment of a paediatric diabetic specialist at University Hospital Galway; (9) Deputy Thomas Byrne - reintroducing the modern languages in primary schools initiative; (10) Deputy Mattie McGrath - the removal of a child from the care of grandparents by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, on the grounds of age; (11) Deputies Clare Daly, Mick Wallace, and Gino Kenny - the incursion of two peace activists onto the runway at Shannon Airport in County Clare on 25 May 2016 to inspect military aircraft of the United States of America; (12) Deputy Barry Cowen - the phasing in of the new pay-by-weight bin charging regime over a longer timeframe by local authorities than the current 1 July 2016 deadline; (13) Deputy Bernard J. Durkan - the need to approve the tenders for Maynooth Post Primary School and Maynooth Community College in Maynooth, County Kildare; (14) Deputy Willie O'Dea - engagement with Citizens Information Board to ensure funding is restored to the Limerick Money Advice & Budgeting Service; (15) Deputy Jackie Cahill - the crisis in the dairy industry, with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland paying 20.98 cent net per litre, which is evidence of below-cost production and will result in farmers going out of business; (16) Deputy Robert Troy - the provision of funding to small groups, such as one in Athlone in County Westmeath, where volunteers are working together to support job creation with no State support; (17) Deputy Brendan Griffin - the need for additional investment in home help hours which will save money for the health service; (18) Deputy Catherine Connolly - given the clinical director’s recent confirmation that capacity is the number one issue on the risk register at University College Hospital Galway and that a new hospital on the Merlin Park grounds is urgently required, to ask the Minister to clarify what immediate steps are being taken in this regard and if the Minister has met with the clinical director and the Saolta group on this matter; (19) Deputy Mick Barry - tomorrow's scheduled strike at Tesco; and (20) Deputy Mary Lou McDonald - the violence and fear in the north inner city and the Government response to it.

The matters raised by Deputies Thomas P. Broughan, Dara Calleary, Catherine Connolly, and Alan Farrell have been selected for discussion.

Dublin and Monaghan Bombings: Motion (Resumed)

The following motion was moved by the Taoiseach on Wednesday, 25 May 2016:

That Dáil Éireann:
recalling the motion it adopted unanimously on 10 July 2008 which:
— noted 'the interim and final reports of the sub-Committee of the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights on the report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin-Monaghan Bombings and the three related Barron reports, including the Inquiry into the Bombing of Kay’s Tavern, Dundalk, and commends the sub-Committee on its work';

— urged 'the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to allow access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents held by the British Government relating to the atrocities that occurred in this jurisdiction and which were inquired into by Judge Barron, for the purposes of assessing said documents with the aim of assisting in the resolution of these crimes'; and

— directed 'the Clerk of the Dáil to communicate the text of this Resolution, together with copies of the aforementioned reports, to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with a request that the matter be considered by the House of Commons';
recalling the motion it unanimously adopted on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 which:
— noted 'that the question of obtaining access to information held by the British Government on the bombings has been pursued for many years';

— requested ‘the Government to continue to raise the matter with the British Government and to press it to comply with the request of Dáil Éireann and reaffirms the support of Members on all sides of this House'; and

— acknowledged 'that the co-operation being sought is taking place in the context of transformed relationships on this island and between Ireland and Britain based on mutual respect, on partnership and on friendship';
notes that Tuesday, 17 May 2016 marked the forty-second anniversary of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings;

and requests the Government to continue to raise the matter with the British Government, and directs the Ceann Comhairle, the Clerk and the chairs of relevant committees when appointed to do likewise with their respective British counterparts, in order to actively pursue the implementation of the 2008 and 2011 all-party motions.

Deputy Niamh Smyth: Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth I welcome the opportunity to support this all-party motion on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, in which 33 people and an unborn child were murdered in a series of devastating explosions which mark 17 May 1974 as the single bloodiest day of the Troubles. I extend my gratitude to Justice for the Forgotten for continuing to carry the torch regarding this very dark moment in our past, particularly in Monaghan town in my constituency.

Previous inquiries by Mr. Justice Barron have raised serious concerns over non-co-operation by the British Government, with efforts to uncover who was responsible. Relatives of the victims continue to campaign to have their claims of state collusion with paramilitaries fully explored, with complete access to British files. These families and the relatives of the 3,500 victims of the Troubles deserve the truth through a clear, reliable mechanism. Prime Minister David Cameron has previously refused to release all the files on the issue, stating that all appropriate materials have been released. The Fianna Fáil Party has consistently supported the relatives and raised the issue of full access to the files at every available opportunity when meeting with British officials and politicians. The failure in the Fresh Start agreement to agree on the best mechanism to deal with the past must be addressed.

Families who have lost loved ones in the Troubles on both sides deserve the truth. On 17 May 1974, two car bombs exploded in the centre of Dublin. They were detonated simultaneously and timed and placed to cause the maximum level of carnage and disruption, while leaving escape routes free for the attackers. Some hours later a fourth bomb, apparently intended to divert police and security forces from individuals trying to cross back from the Republic into the North of Ireland, exploded in my own constituency, in the border town of Monaghan. Twenty-seven people were killed in Dublin and six in Monaghan.

There needs to be a clear route to address the outstanding legacy of those dark days of the Troubles. Today's motion is one aspect of that. The British Government should take the lead and open their files to an independent investigation. The families and communities devastated by these atrocities deserve the truth.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton I have listened with interest to the contributions from all Deputies to this debate. Their contributions reaffirm to the House the deep and lasting effects of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings even after 42 years. I also recognise the members of the families who are here with us today. These bombings were callous and unjustifiable acts of brutality against innocent and defenceless people. They were acts of violence that were offences not only against the victims, but against all right-thinking people. These were terrorist atrocities in the truest sense of that chilling phrase which, tragically, became all too familiar to us over the course of the Troubles. As contributors to the debate on this motion have stated, the families of those killed and injured have borne the grief of those terrible events and the resulting pain is still being felt by them. Their suffering has not gone away and the memory of their loved ones lives on with them.

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