Smith criticises British Government response to legacy bombings requests

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has said it is “unacceptable” that the British Government has not responded to the Irish parliament’s “legitimate and unanimous” requests for an independent legal expert to be given access to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings files.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD again raised the matter in the Dáil ahead of the 49th anniversary of the bombings which killed 33 people and badly injured hundreds of people.

Deputy Smith said: “That day, 17 May 1974, was the darkest day of all during the era known as the Troubles when unfortunately, there were many bad days on this island with so much loss of life and suffering.

“Very regrettably nobody has been brought to justice for those heinous crimes.”  

TDs unanimously passed motions in 2008, 2011, and 2016 calling on the British Government to give an independent international legal expert access to the files.

“The non-response of the British Government to the legitimate and unanimous requests of a neighbouring sovereign jurisdiction is simply unacceptable,” Deputy Smith told the Dáil.

“We all know the possibility of getting prosecutions is extremely limited but the least the families deserve is the truth about who carried out those atrocities.

Deputy Smith urged the Taoiseach to raise this “very important” matter with the British Prime Minister and other British Government members.  

“Legacy issues must be dealt with and no amnesty should ever be provided for perpetrators of despicable crimes as proposed by the British Government through its recent legislation,” Deputy Smith added.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in response, informed Deputy Smith he had raised the issue of legacy and the Irish Government’s “opposition to the British Government’s proposals” during a meeting with the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Belfast two weeks ago.  

“I met him briefly over the weekend but did not have the chance to talk to him in depth but I will certainly continue to press the case against the legacy Bill,” Mr Varadkar said.  

“The next time we have a chance to meet, I will specifically raise the issue of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.”  

ENDS  12/05/2023