Justice at last for the forgotten victims of sectarian murder in Dundalk
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The Dundalk Democrat, 20 December 2003:
Bombing families fear truth will never be known
By Anne Campbell
The families of the two men killed in the Dundalk bombing of 1975 now fear the truth behind the murders may never be known.
Maura McKeever, whose father, Jack Rooney, died with tailor, Hugh Watters, in the car bomb attack in Crowe Street, was speaking following the publication of the Barron Report into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
Two months before Justice Barron published the report into the 1974 bombings in which 34 people died, the Dundalk bereaved families and the relatives of murdered forestry worker, Seamus Ludlow, were informed that the part of the report relating to them would not be made public before the New Year.
There are long-held views that there was collusion between elements of the British security services in the North and the loyalist paramilitaries, the UVF, to bomb Dundalk as well as Dublin and Monaghan.
In his report, Justice Barron said: "There are grounds for suspecting that the bombers may have had assistance from members of the security forces, but any collusion between the UVF bombers and the security forces remains a matter of inference".
He went as far to say the bombers were capable of mounting such a sophisticated attack in Dublin and Monaghan without assistance.
It was initially hoped that the Barron Report would be published in the autumn of 2002, but problems with getting vital files from the British government meant that Justice Barron delayed the publication of the report until last week.
This Friday, 19th December, the Rooney and Watters families will mark the anniversary of their fathers' deaths. Mrs McKeever said this week that the families feel they are no closer to finding their fathers' killers and again called for a full public inquiry into all deaths mentioned in Justice Barron's report.
"I travelled to Dublin last Wednesday for the publication of the report", she said. "I was disappointed, though not entirely surprised, by the inconclusive findings.
"I believe that neither those who bombed Dublin and Monaghan or Dundalk were capable of putting together co-ordinated attacks of this nature, without outside help from the security forces.
"What is clear from Justice Barron's inquiries is that the Garda investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings was flawed, though a full explanation as to why this was the case was given.
"The reports alludes to the fact that the UVF were involved in the Dundalk bombing and that information to that effect was passed to Gardai, although it seems, little, if anything, was done about it."
Mrs McKeever said it was "appalling" that the Cosgrave government of the day did not take more interest in the atrocities in Dundalk, Dublin and Monaghan.
"Justice Barron states this fact, but he doesn't reach a proper conclusion as to why this was the case", she said.
What angers her most is the fact that Justice Barron found that key State files in relation to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings inquiries had mysteriously disappeared. She also fears that the Gardai who investigated the Dundalk bombing were no more competent than their Dublin and Monaghan counterparts.
Last week, Taoiseacjh Bertie Ahern said that the Joint Committee which is studying the report would report back within three months on what further action should be taken.
The committee will consider whether 'a further public inquiry into any aspect of the report would be required or fruitful'.
Sean Ardagh TD, chairman of the committee, called on anyone with further information to come forward with their submissions.
Mrs McKeever said that both her family and the Watters family would mark the anniversary of their fathers' deaths on Friday.
For the past couple of years, they have left wreaths at the plaque, on the front of the Town Hall, which was erected on the 25th anniversary of the bombing at Kay's Tavern.
"Unfortunately, the wreaths have been stolen within hours of us leaving them there", she said.
"It's a very sad day for us, and for people to lift the wreaths is just too much for us to bear".
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Produced in association with the Ludlow Family.
Last edited: 30 April 2004 22:01:02
Copyright © 2003 the Rooney, Watters and Ludlow families. All rights reserved. Revised: April 30, 2004 .