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27th Anniversary

Justice at last for the forgotten victims of sectarian murder in Dundalk


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Tragedy Recalled


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25 Years On.

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Magill Magazine article Sept. 2002

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The following report appeared in the local Dundalk Democrat newspaper around the 27th anniversary of the murders of Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters in the Dundalk bombing of 19 December 1975.

The late Jack Rooney.The Dundalk Democrat, 21 December 2002:

Nearly 30 years on from Dundalk bombing and the fight for justice continues

By Anne Campbell

Today (Thursday) marks the 27th anniversary of the Dundalk bombing. on 19th December 1975, two men, Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters, were killed when a car bomb exploded outside Kay's Tavern in Crowe Street. Over 20 people were injured.

Maura McKeever, Jack's daughter, and Margaret Watters have been campaigning for a number of years for a public inquiry into their fathers' deaths and are frustrated that their pleas are falling on deaf ears.

There have been more developments in 2002 in the campaign to find out who bombed Dundalk than in any previous year. However, the inquiry into the Dundalk, Dublin and Monaghan bombings, headed by Justice Barron, continued its work.

The late Hugh Watters.The Barron Inquiry was set up three years ago at the request of bombing victims' group Justice for the Forgotten. Since its establishment, it has been dogged with comments that its scope is too limited.

It does not have the power to subpoena witnesses and is entirely dependent on voluntary co-operation. Magill Magazine revealed this year that the Inquiry has received co-operation from the Gardai and the RUC but not the Special Branch.

Earlier in 2002, replying to a question from the Opposition, the Taoiseach revealed that he had passed a memo to Tony Blair and his officials reiterating what Justice Barron required by way of information from their administration.

"Mr Justice Barron received an amount of information previously but has not got all the information he requires or answers to some of the issues he raised", Mr Ahern told the Dail.

"Whether that information is available or will be handed over is uncertain. We have had a commitment from the Prime Minister and from the Secretary of State, Mr John Reid, that they would provide everything they had through their own intelligence agencies.

"Mr Justice Barron is still unsatisfied and that is the position", he added. "It is important, in order to have as full and accurate a report as possible, that everyone with relevant information co-operates fully".

The Taoiseach continued: "As I pointed out to the last Dail, Mr Justice Barron has received some of the information that he sought but not everything.

"It will be a matter for him to assess and comment in his report on the co-operation he has received from the various authorities with which he has been in contact. My role has been to endeavour, as best I can, to get that information".

The Magill article states: "(We) understand that the (Barron) Inquiry has obtained strong new evidence that would indicate at least a willingness on the part of certain sections of the British military to engage in grave undercover actions".

A sum of 300,000 euro was set aside to cover all the work of the independent commission and Justice Barron is currently writing the report.

It is expected to be submitted to the Oireachtas joint committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights early in the New Year. The government envisages that the committee would consider the follow-up to the report in public session.

Maura McKeever hopes that the Barron report will not stop short of recommending a full public inquiry into the bombings.

"We have been waiting for a very long time for a public inquiry", she said this week. "Nothing else will uncover the extent of collusion, if there was any, between the bombers and elements of the British military.

"We also have a lot of questions about the Garda investigation into our fathers' deaths. As the anniversary comes round, my mother says that she just wants to know the truth.

"We are not looking for retribution, just the facts about what happened and why. It's very sad that we have come to the 27th anniversary of Mr Watters' and my father's deaths and we are still none the wiser.

"The Barron report has been delayed on numerous occasions and I sincerely hope that it is ready very early in the New Year", she added.

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See also: 

The Sunday Times, January 12, 2003: Army 'link' to Dublin bombings 

MATERIAL for bombs that killed 33 people in Dublin and Monaghan may have come from the British Army, according to an official inquiry into the atrocities.

The inquiry has been given evidence that army members supplied loyalist terrorists with explosives that had been confiscated by the army from the IRA and that these were used in the three bombs which exploded in Dublin during rush-hour traffic. . .

Use this link to read the full story that may link the Dundalk and other bombs to the British Army. >>>

Last edited: 11 July 2003 22:30:23 

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Revised: July 11, 2003 .