Deputy Brendan Smith again calls on British Government to release files relating to Dublin/Monaghan bombings

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil T.D. Brendan Smith through Parliamentary Questions in Dáil Éireann last week called again on the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to raise with the British Government the need to release the files pertaining to the Dublin/Monaghan bombings as requested in Motions passed in Dáil Éireann.

Deputy Brendan Smith in his comments referred to the unanimous passing of Dáil motions in 2008, 2011 and 2016 calling on the British Government to release all papers.

“There were many tragic days during that era on our island known as the Troubles, but on that day the carnage in Dublin and Monaghan resulted in the deaths of 34 people and injuries to 300 others, for which nobody has been brought to justice. The British Government has on three occasions ignored the unanimous requests of Members of a sovereign parliament. I appeal to the Minister of State and her colleagues in government to pursue again as strongly as possible with the British Government, particularly the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the British Foreign Secretary, the argument that the least they could do to try to see justice achieved for so many victims is ensure an independent, international judicial figure would have access to all files and papers on those awful atrocities”.

“The Minister of State has correctly indicated that the motions were approved unanimously in the House in 2008, 2011 and 2016. They referred to the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk and the murder of Séamus Ludlow in County Louth. As we know, nobody has been brought to justice for committing these desperate atrocities. The Ulster Volunteer Force, UVF, a loyalist group, claimed responsibility for the bombings, but there are credible allegations that elements of the British security forces colluded with it in the bombings. Anne Cadwallader in her book, Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland, refers to 120 murders committed by loyalist paramilitaries and indicates that clear evidence is available that some of them were armed from Ulster Defence Regiment depots”. “It is utterly reprehensible and unacceptable that the British Government will not heed the unanimous motions passed in this House and sovereign parliament. We are asking it to release the files and papers to an independent and international judicial figure who could carry out some work and conduct some research. It is deplorable, as the Minister of State and all of the rest of us in the House know, that the families who have suffered so much for so long are seeing no justice in the case. I ask the Minister of State to bring the message to her Government colleagues that we want this matter to be prioritised in negotiations with the British Government. I know many of the victims, people who were injured. The way they have been treated by the British Government and its agencies during the years has been reprehensible”, Deputy Brendan Smith outlined in Dáil Éireann.

The Minister for European Affairs replied –

“I acknowledge those across the House who work on a cross-party basis with the Government on this issue and the tireless efforts of Justice for the Forgotten. Dealing with long outstanding issues related to the legacies of the conflict in Northern Ireland is of the utmost importance to the Government. A Programme for a Partnership Government highlights this priority, with specific reference to implementation of the all-party Dáil motions on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. This year 17 May marked the 43rd anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings which saw the biggest loss of life in a single day during the Troubles. Deputy Charles Flanagan who was then Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade participated on behalf of the Government in the commemoration ceremony that day and in addressing the commemoration ceremony he reaffirmed the Government’s determination to continue and complete our efforts to seek the truth of those awful events of 17 May 1974.

The all-party motion on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings that was adopted by the Dáil on 25 May 2016 has, like those adopted in 2008 and 2011, been conveyed to the British Government. The motions call on the British Government to allow access, as correctly noted by the Deputy, by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, as well as the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk and the murder of Seamus Ludlow. The Government is committed to actively pursuing the implementation of the all-party Dáil motions and has consistently raised the matter with the British Government. The Minister, Deputy Simon Coveney, has spoken directly with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. James Brokenshire, about the matter and is actively engaged with the British Government on an ongoing basis on it, as are officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. As part of this engagement, the Government underlines that the Dáil motions represent the consensus political view in Ireland that an independent, international judicial review of all the relevant documents is required to establish the full facts of the Dublin and Monaghan atrocities. The Minister has also advised the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that the absence of a response from the British Government is of deep concern to the Government and this House and emphasised the urgent need for a response from the British Government. The Government will continue to engage with the British Government on the request relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and will pursue all possible avenues that could achieve progress on this issue, consistent with the request made by the Deputy and the Dáil.

I fully agree with Deputy Smith that it is not right that families have not found out the truth of what happened and are still wondering if they will ever receive the truth. There have been several appalling cases from the Troubles where truth and justice were secured only after decade-long campaigns by the victims, their families, civil society and government. That should not be the case and families should not be put through that, in particular for decades.

I wish to restate the Government’s absolute commitment to doing this and ensuring that there is justice for the Dublin-Monaghan bombing campaign. That is reflected in the programme for Government and in the Government’s consistent action and engagement on the matter. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Coveney, has said that he will continue to press the matter with party leaders and cross-party groups. Senior officials from the Irish and British Governments have been mandated to explore options to find a way forward on the issue. That work is continuing. They are working diligently to try to ensure that an end is reached. On behalf of the Minister, Deputy Coveney, and the Government, I reiterate our full commitment to getting a resolution to the issue”, Helen McEntee, Minister for European Affairs replied to the Cavan/Monaghan Deputy Brendan Smith.

Dáil Extract – 21st September 2017

Dublin-Monaghan Bombings

  1. Deputy Brendan Smith   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade   if he has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the need for the British Government to release the papers and files pertaining to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974 as requested in Dáil Éireann motions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39853/17]
  2. Deputy Brendan Smith   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade   his plans to raise with the British Foreign Secretary the need for the British Government to release the papers and files pertaining to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974 as requested in Dáil Éireann motions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39854/17]

Deputy Brendan Smith:   After Dáil debates to which I contributed, with many other Members, in 2008, 2011 and 2016, we unanimously approved motions calling on the British Government to release all files and papers pertaining to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. There were many tragic days during that era on our island known as the Troubles, but on that day the carnage in Dublin and Monaghan resulted in the deaths of 34 people and injuries to 300 others, for which nobody has been brought to justice. The British Government has on three occasions ignored the unanimous requests of Members of a sovereign parliament. I appeal to the Minister of State and her colleagues in government to pursue again as strongly as possible with the British Government, particularly the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the British Foreign Secretary, the argument that the least they could do to try to see justice achieved for so many victims is ensure an independent, international judicial figure would have access to all files and papers on those awful atrocities.

Deputy Helen McEntee:   I propose to take Questions Nos. 8, 9, and 43 together.

I acknowledge those across the House who work on a cross-party basis with the Government on this issue and the tireless efforts of Justice for the Forgotten. Dealing with long outstanding issues related to the legacies of the conflict in Northern Ireland is of the utmost importance to the Government. A Programme for a Partnership Government highlights this priority, with specific reference to implementation of the all-party Dáil motions on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. This year 17 May marked the 43rd anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings which saw the biggest loss of life in a single day during the Troubles. Deputy Charles Flanagan who was then Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade participated on behalf of the Government in the commemoration ceremony that day and in addressing the commemoration ceremony he reaffirmed the Government’s determination to continue and complete our efforts to seek the truth of those awful events of 17 May 1974.

The all-party motion on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings that was adopted by the Dáil on 25 May 2016 has, like those adopted in 2008 and 2011, been conveyed to the British Government. The motions call on the British Government to allow access, as correctly noted by the Deputy, by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, as well as the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk and the murder of Seamus Ludlow. The Government is committed to actively pursuing the implementation of the all-party Dáil motions and has consistently raised the matter with the British Government. The Minister, Deputy Simon Coveney, has spoken directly with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. James Brokenshire, about the matter and is actively engaged with the British Government on an

ongoing basis on it, as are officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. As part of this engagement, the Government underlines that the Dáil motions represent the consensus political view in Ireland that an independent, international judicial review of all the relevant documents is required to establish the full facts of the Dublin and Monaghan atrocities. The Minister has also advised the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that the absence of a response from the British Government is of deep concern to the Government and this House and emphasised the urgent need for a response from the British Government. The Government will continue to engage with the British Government on the request relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and will pursue all possible avenues that could achieve progress on this issue, consistent with the request made by the Deputy and the Dáil.

Deputy Brendan Smith:   I thank the Minister of State for her reply. She referred to the former Minister, Deputy Charles Flanagan, with whom I had much engagement and his officials on this issue which I have already mentioned it to the new Minister, Deputy Simon Coveney. I hope we can maintain that contact and dialogue which are representative of views in this House.   The Minister of State has correctly indicated that the motions were approved unanimously in the House in 2008, 2011 and 2016. They referred to the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk and the murder of Séamus Ludlow in County Louth. As we know, nobody has been brought to justice for committing these desperate atrocities. The Ulster Volunteer Force, UVF, a loyalist group, claimed responsibility for the bombings, but there are credible allegations that elements of the British security forces colluded with it in the bombings. Anne Cadwallader in her book, Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland, refers to 120 murders committed by loyalist paramilitaries and indicates that clear evidence is available that some of them were armed from Ulster Defence Regiment depots.   It is utterly reprehensible and unacceptable that the British Government will not heed the unanimous motions passed in this House and sovereign parliament. We are asking it to release the files and papers to an independent and international judicial figure who could carry out some work and conduct some research. It is deplorable, as the Minister of State and all of the rest of us in the House know, that the families who have suffered so much for so long are seeing no justice in the case. I ask the Minister of State to bring the message to her Government colleagues that we want this matter to be prioritised in negotiations with the British Government. I know many of the victims, people who were injured. The way they have been treated by the British Government and its agencies during the years has been reprehensible.

Deputy Helen McEntee:   I fully agree with Deputy Smith that it is not right that families have not found out the truth of what happened and are still wondering if they will ever receive the truth. There have been several appalling cases from the Troubles where truth and justice were secured only after decade-long campaigns by the victims, their families, civil society and government. That should not be the case and families should not be put through that, in particular for decades.

I wish to restate the Government’s absolute commitment to doing this and ensuring that there is justice for the Dublin-Monaghan bombing campaign. That is reflected in the programme for Government and in the Government’s consistent action and engagement on the matter. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Coveney, has said that he will continue to press the matter with party leaders and cross-party groups. Senior officials from the Irish and British Governments have been mandated to explore options to find a way forward on the issue. That work is continuing. They are working diligently to try to ensure that an end is reached. On behalf of the Minister, Deputy Coveney, and the Government, I reiterate our full commitment to getting a resolution to the issue.

Deputy Brendan Smith:   I accept the Minister of State’s assurances and those of her Government colleagues but I ask her to convey in her dialogue, discussions and meetings with British Government Ministers that this subject is always a priority issue.

Deputy Helen McEntee:   I again give a commitment that that will be the case and I will pass on that message. I assure the victims’ families that the Government is doing everything it can.

 

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