Barron Report - Conclusions
The following is an extract from the interim report of
Justice Barron into the 1974 Dublin/Monaghan bombings.
THE FACTS, CIRCUMSTANCES, CAUSES AND PERPETRATORS OF THE
The Dublin and Monaghan bombings were carried out by two
groups of loyalist paramilitaries, one based in Belfast and
the other in the area around Portadown / Lurgan. Most, though
not all of those involved were members of the UVF. It is
likely that the bombings were conceived and planned in
Belfast, with the mid-Ulster element providing operational
The bombings were primarily a reaction to the Sunningdale
Agreement - in particular to the prospect of a greater role
for the Irish government in the administration of Northern
Ireland - though there were other specific events in April and
May 1974 which might have influenced the timing of the
The loyalist groups who carried out the bombings in Dublin
were capable of doing so without help from any section of the
security forces in Northern Ireland, though this does not rule
out the involvement of individual RUC, UDR or British Army
members. The Monaghan bombing in particular bears all the
hallmarks of a standard loyalist operation and required no
It is likely that the farm of James Mitchell at Glenanne
played a significant part in the preparation for the attacks.
It is also likely that members of the UDR and RUC either
participated in, or were aware of those preparations.
THE NATURE, EXTENT AND ADEQUACY OF THE GARDA INVESTIGATION,
INCLUDING THE CO-OPERATION WITH AND FROM THE RELEVANT
AUTHORITIES IN NORTHERN IRELAND AND THE HANDLING OF EVIDENCE,
INCLUDING THE SCIENTIFIC ANALYSES OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE
The Garda investigation failed to make full use of the
information it obtained. Certain lines of inquiry that could
have been made pursued further in this jurisdiction were not
pursued. There were other matters, including the questioning
of suspects, in which the assistance of the RUCshould have
been requested, but was not.
The State was not equipped to conduct an adequate forensic
analysis of the explosions. This was because the importance of
preservation, prompt collection and analysis was not
appreciated. The effect of this was that potentially vital
clues were lost.
Although the investigation teams had in their opinion no
evidence upon which to found a prosecution, there is no
evidence that they sought the advice of the Attorney General,
in whose name criminal prosecutions were at that time still
being brought. Had the Attorney General reviewed the file, it
is likely that advices would have been given as to what
further direction the investigation might take.
THE REASONS WHY NO PROSECUTION TOOK PLACE, INCLUDING WHETHER
AND IF SO, BY WHOM AND TO WHAT EXTENT THE INVESTIGATIONS WERE
A number of those suspected for the bombings were reliably
said to have had relationships with British Intelligence and /
or RUC Special Branch officers.
It is reasonable to assume that exchanges of information took
It is therefore possible that the assistance provided to the
Garda investigation team by the security forces in Northern
Ireland was affected by a reluctance to compromise those
relationships, in the interests of securing further
information in the future. But any such conclusion would
require very cogent evidence.
No such evidence is in the possession of the Inquiry. There
remains a deep suspicion that the investigation into the
bombings was hampered by such factors, but it cannot be put
further than that.
There is evidence which shows that the informal exchange of
information between Gardai on the border and their RUC
counterparts was extensive. There is some evidence to suggest
that some Garda officers, unwittingly or otherwise, may have
been giving information to members of the British Army or
The Inquiry has found no evidence to support the proposition
that such exchanges in some way facilitated the passage of the
Dublin and Monaghan bombers across the border. Similarly, no
basis has been found for concluding that the Garda
investigation was in any way inhibited because of a fear of
exposing such links.
The Inquiry has examined allegations that the Garda
investigation was wound down as a result of political
interference. No evidence was found to support that
However, it can be said that the Government of the day showed
little interest in the bombings. When information was given to
them suggesting that the British authorities had intelligence
naming the bombers, this was not followed up. Any follow-up
was limited to complaints by the Minister for Foreign Affairs
that those involved had been released from internment.
THE ISSUES RAISED BY THE 'HIDDEN HAND' TV DOCUMENTARY
BROADCAST IN 1993
There is no evidence that any branch of the security forces
knew in advance that the bombings were about to take place.
This has been reiterated by the current Secretary of State for
Northern Ireland and is accepted by the Inquiry. If they did
know, it is unlikely that there would be any official records.
Such knowledge would not have been written down; or if it was,
would not have been in any files made available to the
Secretary of State. There is evidence that the Secretary of
State of the day was not fully informed on matters of which he
should have been made aware. On that basis, it is equally
probable that similarly sensitive information might be
withheld from the present holder of that office.
The Inquiry believes that within a short time of the bombings
taking place, the security forces in Northern Ireland had good
intelligence to suggest who was responsible. An example of
this could be the unknown information that led British
Intelligence sources to tell their Irish Army counterparts
that at least two of the bombers had been arrested on 26 May
Unfortunately, the Inquiry has been unable to discover the
nature of this and other intelligence available to the
security forces in Northern Ireland at that time.
As is made clear in the Report, there are grounds for
suspecting that the bombers may have had assistance from
members of the security forces. The involvement of individual
members in such an activity does not of itself mean the
bombings were either officially or unofficially
If one accepts that some people were involved, they may well
have been acting on their own initiative. Ultimately, a
finding that there was collusion between the perpetrators and
the authorities in Northern Ireland is a matter of inference.
On some occasions an inference is irresistible or can be drawn
as a matter of probability. Here, it is the view of the
Inquiry that this inference is not sufficiently strong. It
does not follow even as a matter of probability. Unless
further information comes to hand, such involvement must
remain a suspicion. It is not proven.