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The Irish Daily Mail, 5 October 2006:

The late Jack Rooney murdered by loyalist bombers in Dundalk, December 1975.The late Hugh Watters, murdered by loyalist bombers in Dundalk, December 1975.




The culture of secrecy

Group alleges gardai are withholding crucial files on collusion by British in Dundalk car bombing

Daily Mail Reporter

The Garda Síochána had a culture of secrecy in the early 1970s which persists to the present day, an Oireachtas committee heard yesterday.

The Justice for the Forgotten group, which represents victims of a Dundalk bar bombing in 1975, also criticised gardai for withholding crucial files in relation to the crime.

Relatives have always claimed that the atrocity in Kay's Tavern, which killed two local men, was carried out by loyalist bombers in collusion with British security forces.

'I'm talking about a culture of secrecy and grudgingly handing over information, which persists to this very day,' the solicitor for the victims, James McGuill, yesterday told the all-party body.

He added: 'As far as An Garda Síochána is concerned, there has been absolute consistency in its non-cooperation in terms of giving documents to the families.'

Criticising the role of British authorities, Mr McGuill told members of the Oireachtas Justice Sub-Committee: 'How can the British refuse to co-operate with an investigation into state terrorism. This must be in violation of their EU obligations.'

Mr Justice Henry Barron, whose report on the Kay's Tavern bombing in Dundalk, was being rexamined by the oireachtas sub-committee.Yesterday was the third of three days of public hearings held by the sub-committee into the Barron Report's findings on the no-warning bombing.

The report into the Kay's Tavern blast concluded that it was carried out by loyalist extremists, but was unable to identify those involved.

Mr Justice Henry Barron claimed some members of the security forces in the North should have known who was responsible for the Dundalk attack, but he added that allegations of collusion were impossible to prove or disprove.

Mr McGuill said of the report: 'How on earth could he make a finding that the gardai did all they could do?' He claimed gardai never followed up on a report from a businessman who had seen a suspected loyalist bomber 'casing' Dundalk two months before the bombing.

It was fortunate that only two people - local tailor Hugh Waters, 60, and 62-year-old truck driver Jack Rooney - were killed in the atrocity in December 1975, he added.

'It is pure happenstance that only two people died, considering it was a crowded shopping area of Dundalk on a Friday evening,' he remarked.

Gardai should have had access to an FBI-style 'Most Wanted' list of loyalist suspects so they would be alerted if they were in the area, he added.

The Oireachtas sub-committee bearings featured testimonies from relatives of the victims of nine atrocities which killed 18 people.

The incidents include bombings in Dundalk, Dublin Airport and the Miami Showband killings. The sub-committee is chaired by Fianna Fail TD Sean Ardagh and comprises six other members of the Dail and Seanad.

Mr Ardagh said: 'The sub-committee will continue with its detailed consideration of the Barron Report.'

Justice for the Forgotten believes that it is possible to make links between four attacks in the Republic in the two-year period from May 1974 to March 1976.

They also claim that there is a much stronger case for the existence of direct collusion in the crimes.

The sub-committee also heard a submission from the Pat Finucane Centre, a human rights body.

The British government earlier this year said that it was going ahead with a restricted inquiry into the death of the Belfast solicitor for whom the centre is named.

I Top I

Barron Report into the murder of Seamus Ludlow is Published - Download the Barron Report from the Oireachtas website (pdf file) - Statement from Justice for the Forgotten - Joint Oireachtas Committee inquiring into the Barron Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow Request for Submissions


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Last edited: 07 October 2006 20:39:45 

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Revised: October 07, 2006 .