'NAIVE AND FOOLISH'
Three families of those killed in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan
bombings have demanded that the newly opened parliamentary
inquiry into the atrocities be abandoned.
As victims and relatives of those killed in the bombings
appeared before the committee in Dublin ito plead for a public
inquiry, another group yesterday dismissed the hearings as a
waste of time.
The inquiry, which is expected to last three months, is
considering Justice Henry Barron's report into the bombings,
published last month.
Barron found evidence of collusion by
British forces into the bombings, which were carried out by
the loyalist paramilitary UVF. However, his inquiry was hindered
by a lack of co-operation by the British authorities.
Members of the Justice for the Forgotten group took turns to
stand before the committee and describe the scenes they faced
on May 17 1974 and the horrific circumstances they have had to
live with for the past 30 years.
One of the victims told how he was pronounced dead in Jervis
Street Hospital and his body stored in the mortuary before
staff realised he was alive, and rushed him to theatre for
Mr Byrne was 14 when he was caught up in the bomb at Parnell
Street on May 17th, 1974. He sustained serious head injuries.
"I was put in a vault and it seems I woke up," said Mr Byrne.
"They had it in the papers the next day that I was dead."
Other victims told horrific and distressing accounts of the
carnage they experienced.
Lawyer Desmond Doherty, acting on behalf of three of the
families, said his clients had suffered enough. He called for
the hearing to be abandoned and a full public inquiry to be
He said the families should not have to come forward to the
hearing to describe their pain and suffering.
"Everybody knows how they have been maimed. These bombings
happened in 1974, not last week," Mr Doherty said.
"This is not a trivial investigation. It is an inquiry into
matters of life and death and Irish state accountability."
A statement was read to the committee yesterday on behalf of
the three families who objected.
"The proposed scheme of events is insulting and suspicious and
at its best, the attempt to settle these so-called hearings is
naive and foolish," it read.
"We have tragically got used to being ignored, demonised and
criticised by all organs of the state for the last 30 years
and in effect we have been marginalised. We have suffered
enough. If this committee by now does not know who we are and
how we have suffered then you should resign from your position
The statement went on to say the families were sick of
describing their experiences, which had now become a matter of
"We have been sucked into a vortex of civil service,
governmental and political bureaucracy and red tape," it read.
"Our suffering has been replaced by rules, regulations,
com-mittees and sub-committees. We have been lost in this
The statement called for the three-month hearing to be
abandoned and for a public inquiry to be opened immediately.
Committee chairman Sean Ardagh said he would respond to the
application by next Tuesday.
Earlier, counsel for Justice for the Forgotten, said Judge
Barron's report was a "ringing endorsement" for a public
He said that although it addressed the issues in a superficial
way, in that it contained detail and comment on most aspects
of the bombings, it did not establish the truth.
"As a report it is devastating in the extent of failures it
reveals," counsel said.
"The conclusions of the judge cannot be compared to those
which would be realised by a full public inquiry.
"It did not establish why those omissions and failures
occurred, nor did it establish who should take
Alice O'Brien, who lost her sister, brother-in-law and their
two children in the Dublin bombing, said the government of the
day had done nothing and a subsequent Garda investigation had
come to nothing.
"The door has been shut in our faces many times and we hope
that this is at last an opening," she said.
The Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, is to be
invited to appear before the parliamentary subcommittee to
explain why he was not more insistent with the British and
northern authorities when they refused Mr Justice Barron
access to files on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings of 1974.
A number of Cabinet ministers at the time of the bombings have
also been invited to appear before the committeee. These
include Mr Paddy Cooney, Dr Garret FitzGerald, Dr Conor Cruise
O'Brien and Mr Justin Keating.
Paul Murphy, British Direct Ruler in Ireland. has also been
invited to appear as has a number of his predecessors,
including Peter Mandelson and John Reid. Hugh Orde, chief
constable of the PSNI police, has also been asked to attend.
But the former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, has refused an
invitation to attend meetings of the sub-committee. He wrote
on Monday saying that he had retired from public life in 1981.