Relatives of the two men killed in the loyalist bombing of Kay’s
Tavern, Crowe St on Friday 19th December 1975 told members of the
Oireachtas Justice Sub-Committee into the Barron Report of their sense
of betrayal when they learned of allegations of collusion and have
called for a public inquiry into the Garda investigation.
Margaret English told the hearing that her father, Hugh Watters,
“was a quiet, innocent man. Some of his greatest words were those of
human charity and human dignity and, therefore, it was shocking that
he was killed in this way.
hate to say this but I only realised in 1998 that there was such a
thing as collusion. I always thought that nobody could be got for
Daddy's bombing; I thought the forensic evidence was not there. That
is the way the family thought about it. When the peace agreement was
made, I was so happy. I was delighted because at least then I could
turn on a television. I would not look at the television because I was
afraid of what I would see. Every time I heard about a bombing, I was
taken back to my life so I always kept that away. I would not look at
recalled going to see John Wilson in 1998.
thought we were to talk about the peace we would have. I thought there
would be rallies and everything. He asked me my story and I told him
about Dad. His remark to me was: “Yes, that was the Robin Jackson
gang that killed your Dad”. I said: “No, no. Nobody was got for
Daddy's killing”. He went on and said: “Yes, that was a known
fact”. I said it was not. We talked. When I went home I wondered to
myself where that had come from. He had said to me: “Did you never
hear of that gang?” I had never heard of anybody. That left me
thinking about what was going on so I tried to push it back in my
mind. I thought that if I could zip it back in again, I would not have
to think about it again but I could not get rid of it.
I am appealing to all the Members of the Oireachtas to put this in
God's hands and to go the road God would go - truth and justice. Truth
and justice are all the families want. As Daddy used to say, and he
never got it in his life, I would love you to show each of the
families Christian charity. All we are looking for is Christian
charity, truth and justice.
McKeever, whose father Jack Rooney died three days after the bombing
told the sub-committee that her mother was to attend the hearing but
asked her last night what she would have said. She said that as two
citizens of the State, two innocent victims, they should have been
treated more fairly. Nobody wanted to know; nobody ever came near us
to say anything. She is now 89 and she is still waiting for somebody
to come and tell her there was collusion.”
has always maintained there was collusion. It was well known in the
town. But she wants somebody to come and say: “Yes, you were
right”. I have watched that woman for 30 years and it is very hard.
It is very hard for me and it must be worse for her. I am very upset.
says that she believes that when the Gardai got a warning that there
was a bomb, “they should have gone around all the Government
buildings and given some kind of warning. They should have had some
kind of checkpoints but they had nothing. It was like, “Oh well,
there is going to be a bomb. It does not really matter about these
lives”. There were children on the street shortly before that bomb
and some of them were injured. It did not seem to matter.
think the gardaí really failed and should have given some sort of
warning. They were told and they should have done something about it.
when it actually happened, we got no support whatsoever. Nobody ever
came near us and no garda even came to officially say this had
happened. I have two aunts still alive and my father's brother only
died a couple of years ago. They were long lived so he would have been
alive. He loved Christmas and was quite happy in his life. He was a
great man for everything and loved his community. He collected in the
chapel but neither the Government, Garda nor the priests - nobody -
came near my mother. It was like saying: “We will ignore it and it
will go away”. Nobody cared and I am living with that. I knew there
was collusion and I still say there was but where were you to go to
get any answers because no one wanted to know? Even when we we had
a ceremony at the town hall and we had a plaque unveiled, they
would not even stop the traffic on the street so that the man could
talk. There was just no respect. Mammy got nothing - neither did
Margaret's mother. There was nothing and it is still the same and I
would like to see that change. I would actually like to see somebody
come forward and say: "Yes, you are right; this is what
happened" That is what I am really hoping for from today - that I
will get some answers.
want a public inquiry because I feel we should have it. After all, the
guards were supposed to be doing their duty and the Government was
supposed to be doing its. We are citizens of this State. We are
supposed to be protected by this State. We are not being protected. We
have been ignored. It is a case of if you just go away, it will be
fine. I am asking for a public inquiry today. I really feel we should
get better treatment and I hope we do."