Loyalists had licence to
kill Catholics, finds inquiry
By Paul O’Brien Political Reporter
members of the security forces in the North allowed a climate to
develop in which loyalist subversives believed they could attack
Catholic targets “with impunity”, an inquiry has found.
In addition, the RUC may have kept
information from gardaí investigating a bombing in order to hide
security force collusion in attacks.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair was called upon last night to order
the RUC’s successor, the PSNI, to cooperate fully with Oireachtas
hearings that will be held on the issue later this year.
The findings were contained in an interim report of the commission
investigating the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk on December 19,
1975, in which two people were killed.
Later that same night, a gun and bomb attack was carried out at
Donnelly’s Bar in Silverbridge, Co Armagh, killing three more
In his report published yesterday, former Supreme Court judge Henry
Barron — the sole member of the commission — said the Dundalk
bombing was carried out by loyalists, most probably associated with
the mid-Ulster UVF.
These loyalists were using the farm of an RUC reserve member, James
Mitchell, as their centre of operations, although Mr Justice Barron
said he accepted the bomb did not originate from the farm, located in
Glennane, Co Armagh.
However, he believed the Dundalk and Silverbridge bombings were
coordinated by members of the “Glennane group”, and therefore
“members of that group must at least have known in advance of the
plan to attack Dundalk”.
The judge said allegations of collusion were “impossible to prove or
disprove”. However, he could say that:
The Glennane group contained members of the RUC and the British
Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), “some of whom probably knew
of the plan to attack Dundalk”.
Senior members of the security forces “allowed a climate to develop
in which loyalist subversives could believe that they could attack
Some of those suspected of the bombings, such as well-known loyalists
Robin Jackson and brothers James Nelson Young and Joseph Steward
Young, had relationships with British intelligence and/or RUC special
While the commission did not have firm evidence, Mr Justice Barron
said he suspected the RUC kept crucial intelligence from the gardaí
investigating the Dundalk attack in order to “limit information
relating to security forces collusion in terrorist activity from
reaching the public domain”.
The judge also said that, while forensic evidence was inconclusive,
the nature of the explosives used suggested a possible link between
the Dundalk attack and the bombings of Dublin and Monaghan in 1974 and
Castleblayney in 1976.
An Oireachtas sub-committee will begin hearings on Mr Justice
Barron’s report in September, and issue its own report by
mid-November. But families of the victims again expressed
disappointment last night that no public inquiry would be held.
Sinn Féin said the Taoiseach needed to hold a special summit with Mr
Blair to discuss exclusively the issue of collusion.