Dundalk Democrat, 22 December 2001.
Dundalk bomb victims' families still waiting
on public inquiry.
By Anne Campbell.
The families of
the two victims of the 1975 Dundalk bombing have called on the government once
again for a public inquiry into the atrocity, as the 26th anniversary of the
Jack Rooney and
Hugh Watters died in the car bombing of Kay's Tavern on 19th December 1975.
Maura McKeever, Jack's daughter, and Margaret English have been
campaigning for a number of years for a public inquiry into their fathers'
deaths and are frustrated that their pleas are still falling on deaf ears.
Despite the fact
that the Dublin-Monaghan bombing inquiry has included the Dundalk
incident in their remit, the investigations have reached stalemate due to the
fact that potentially crucial British government files have not yet been
It is expected
that the findings of the inquiry into Dublin-Monaghan will go before a
government committee some time in the New Year, but Maura McKeever expects
that the Dundalk part may be delayed.
files still haven't been handed over by the British government", she said
yesterday. "We have been waiting nearly a year for them and they keep
making excuses. Mr. Justice Barron, who is in charge of the inquiry, has asked
them numerous times.
been going on all year and this time last year, when we were commemorating the
25th anniversary of the bombing by unveiling the plaque at the Town Hall, I
really thought we would get somewhere in 2001.
all are a year later and nothing really has changed. We are still calling for
a public inquiry into the bombing and are adamant that this is the only way we
will get the truth."
Maura says that
her mother, who is 84, finds this time of the year particularly difficult.
been no closure on this for us for 26 years - how much longer must we wait
before we are given the truth?" she said.
"I want my
mother to find out the truth about her husband's death too".
She is also
critical of the Gardai, who have also refused to release evidence relating to
the bombing. "The Gardai keep telling us that the file is not closed and
the inquiry into the bombing is 'ongoing' and that's why it can't be handed
over", says Maura.
and Margaret's father have been deprived of their grandchildren and their
grandchildren have been deprived of them", she added. "All we want
is for the truth to be told and I really don't think that's too much to
Despite the lack
of progress, Maura says she and Margaret will keep fighting for justice.
"We are almost back to square one, but we will keep looking at our
options and we will keep fighting for the truth.
got any easier in the past 26 years but our determination is still
strong", says Maura.
government have revealed that they have not changed their stance on the
inquiry into the murder of another local man, Seamus Ludlow.
Local TD, Seamus
Kirk, has asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to consider
establishing a commission similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
in South Africa to deal with the murder.
In a written
reply, the Minister stated that his position on the matter remained the same:
"The government decided, in principle, to establish an inquiry into this
case as well as the Dublin-Monaghan and Dundalk cases.
proposed inquiry - which would be carried out on the same basis as the present
Dublin-Monaghan bombings, in line with the recommendations of the Report of
the Victims Commission - has not found favour with the relatives of the victim
(the Ludlow family) or their legal representatives.
circumstances, it has not so far been possible to progress the matter further.
however, keeping the matter under close review and I very much hope that the
government will be in a position to proceed with the proposed inquiry as soon