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Daily Ireland, 4 February 2005:
Outrage at Blair
A lawyer for the families of the Dublin and Monaghan bomb victims has slammed Tony Blair for his treatment of Justice Hemnry Barron's inquiry into the atrocities.
Cormac O Dualacháin SC, at yesterday's Dublin hearing of the Oireachtas joint committee dealing with the Barron report into the bombings in the early 1970s, outlined his outrage at the way two letters from Tony Blair show ambiguity in his treatment of the victims' families.
THe first letter originated when Martin Douglas, whose brother Tomas was killed in a bomb in Dublin on January 20, 1973, lobbied Preston MP Nigel Evans to contact Mr Blair about an inquiry. In the last few days it has come to light that Mr Blair's reply to Mr Douglas' call for an inquiry gave a different message to a letter he sent to Bertie Ahern on the same date.
In the letter sent to Mr Evans, Mr Blair said: "It is entirely understandable that those who have suffered the loss of loved ones still yearn to find out what happened. The British government is committed to doing what it can to give those people the best chance of achieving that."
That letter was sent on January 10, the same day that Tony Blair wrote to the Taoiseach ruling out an inquiry into alleged British security force collusion into the bombings.
Mr O Dualacháin, acting for the Justice For the Forgotten group, the body who represent the bomb victims' families, quoted that letter in which Mr Blair said: "It is our judgment given our experience of the scale of the task of identifying relevant material in the Dublin/Monaghan and Dundalk bombings, it would not be possible to conduct another search through our records for material relating to the bombings within the timescale of the inquiry."
Mr O Dualacháin expressed his outrage that in one letter Mr Blair says he is committed to doing what he can and in another he says it is simply too time-consuming or would involve using too many resources.
He also conveyed anger at the way the British authorities had failed to provide access to documents relating to the bombings.
"The British government turned around at the outset of the Barron inquest and tried to create a fog of information," said Mr O Dualacháin. He said that the government had tried to distract Justice Barron's inquiry by saying that there were over 64,000 files relating to the incidents under investigation.
"Each of these incidents involved criminal offences in Northern Ireland," he said. "Each theft of a vehicle had to be the subject of a criminal investigation. Each kidnapping had to be the subject of an investigation. Yet Barron has seen none of the RUC files in relation to those incidents."
However, there was some good news for Justice For the Forgotten group yesterday.
Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy said he was in favour of employing a liaison officer to work with the bomb victims' families in getting access to Garda files and information.
"We certanly welcome the new development because the Garda Siochana has a culture of secrecy," said Margaret Urwin of the Justice For the Forgotten group.
"This is the first time we have been afforded this type of access by the gardai."
The hearings of the Oireachtas joint committee concluded yesterday at lunchtime.
The committee will now retire to work on its report.
It is due to report on February 17 but it is expected to ask for an extension.
It may therefore be some time before its findings are released.
Daily Ireland, 4 February 2005:
Dundalk angry at PM
Relatives of the 1975 Dundalk bomb victims are outraged at Tony Blair for ruling out an inquiry into alleged British security force collusion with loyalists at the time of the pub blast.
In a letter to Bertie Ahern, Mr Blair ruled out an inquiry into the 1970s bombings in Dundalk, Dublin and Monaghan.
Maura McKeever, whose father Jack Rooney was killed in the dundalk blast, said, "I am really disappointed that Tony Blair has not made a better effort to accommodate us."
Another man, Hugh Watters, also died when the car bomb exploded outside Kay's Tavern in the Co Louth town's Crowe Street.
Mrs McKeever said, "We are waiting 30 years for answers and I can't see why there will not be a full inquiry into the bombing."
She added, "I have no doubt that there was collusion behind the Dundalk bomb. There has been a cover-up.
"I don't think the people who carried out the bombing will be brought to justice.
"However, I'd like to see the names of the people higher up who ordered the bomb to have their names brought out in the open."
Produced in association with the Ludlow Family.
Last edited: 06 February 2005 15:25:25
Download the Barron Inquiry Report into the 17 May 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, (pdf file)
Copyright © 2005 the Rooney, Watters and Ludlow families. All rights reserved. Revised: February 06, 2005 .