ic Derry - Derry Man's Evidence Never Used

Derry Man's Evidence Never Used
Dec 12 2003

THE EVIDENCE of a Derry man who recognised one of the Dublin bombers in 1974 was not used by Gardai in the subsequent hunt for the killers, it has been revealed by the Barron Report which was released to the public yesterday.

The Dublin-Monaghan bombings were the worst atrocity in the last thirty years resulting in the deaths of 33 people and an unborn child.

Last night Derry solicitor, Mr. Dessie Doherty, who represents two of the families of the victims, dismissed the report as 'nonsense'; and said nothing but a full judicial inquiry will get to the truth of what happened in May 1974.

The Derry witness was a bus driver in 1974 and had taken a party of school children on a trip to Dublin.

He was parked in South Leinster Street in Dublin when he saw the bomb car being parked and the driver walked past him.

As revealed in the 'Journal' in May last year the bus driver saw the same man in Derry almost a year later.

The Barron report reveals that this man saw the bomber again outside the Gresham Hotel in Dublin in November 1976 and reported this to the Gardai.

According to the report the Gardai mounted a search but did not circulate the photofit compiled by the Derryman after the bombings to officers.

Nor did the Gardai show the man any of the other photos or photofits compiled after the original investigation to se if he could identify the bomber.

Meanwhile Mr. Doherty, who represents the O'Neill and O'Brien families, said the families had expected little from the Barron report and received even less.

Both the O'Neill and O'Brien families walked out of the press conference called by the Dail Committee who will study the report.

Mr. Doherty said: "The publication of this report only reinforces the need for a full judicial inquiry into these bombings.

"When this so called private inquiry was called my clients had grave reservations and these have been borne out.

"This report, by its own admission, could not call witnesses and had no power to secure any documents."

Mr. Doherty continued: "The report itself reveals that there are 68,000 files in the Northern Ireland Office relating to these bombings and the files in the British Ministry of Defence could be 'counted in millions'.

"Yet few if any of these were handed over to Judge Barron, all he got was a ten page letter from the British Secretary of State.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry had shown what happens if you expect voluntary co-operation from the MoD.

"Any Inquiry into the bombings has to be able to compel the MoD to hand over documents and while there is no guarantee that we will get them at least they will have to refuse in the full glare of the public spotlight."

The Derry solicitor added: "If there is a legal mechanism, apart from a full blown inquiry which will get to the truth of what happened in Dublin and Monaghan, I will be interested to hear about it.

"Only an Inquiry with the power to compel witnesses to give evidence has any chance of finding out what happened."

Mr. Doherty went on: "Many people have said after Dublin 'never again' but the exact thing has already happened again on August 15 1998 in Omagh.

"Again we have allegations of collusion, a botched investigation, an inadequate follow up and the involvement of state forces in some form or other."

The Barron report was scathing in its criticism of the Dublin government's handling of the investigation into the bombing.

Judge Barron in his conclusions noted: "The government of the day failed to show the concern expected of it. The government of the day showed little interest in the bombings.

"When information was given to them suggesting that the British authorities had intelligence naming the bombers, this was not followed up."

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