Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Study of Barron Report into Bombings Begins

9:39am (UK)
Study of Barron Report into Bombings Begins

By Victoria Ward, PA News

A powerful parliamentary committee was today beginning a three-month study of the Barron report into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Irish Premier Bertie Ahern said the Dublin Joint Justice Committee would report back within three months on what further action should be taken in the wake of the report.

Its consideration would include whether “a further public inquiry into any aspect of the report would be required or fruitful”.

Sean Ardagh, chairman of the Committee, called on anyone who could assist in their deliberations to come forward with submissions of evidence.

Families of victims and many of those injured in the atrocities have demanded a public inquiry after the report found that the loyalist bombers who killed 34 people may have received help from members of the British security forces.

The long-awaited report found it likely policemen and soldiers participated in, or were aware of, preparations for the bombings, on May 17 1974, but found no evidence of collusion at a senior level.

The original police investigation and the Irish government of the day were also criticised by Judge Henry Barron.

The 288-page document found that vital forensic evidence and Government files relating to the bombings had mysteriously disappeared.

The judicial inquiry was established almost four years ago to examine claims of collusion between the British security forces and the Ulster Volunteer Force bombers, and to look at the garda investigation.

In his report, Judge Barron said: “There are grounds for suspecting that the bombers may have had assistance from members of the security forces.” However, he said any collusion between the UVF bombers and the security forces remained a matter of inference.

The sophistication of the bombs raised allegations that the killers had been aided by British security forces.

But Judge Barron said he believed the loyalist bombers were capable of carrying out the attack without help.

He added: “It is likely that the farm of James Mitchell at Glenanne played a significant part in the preparation for the attacks.

“It is also likely that members of the UDR and RUC either participated in, or were aware of those preparations.”

Greg O’Neill, a solicitor acting for the Justice for the Forgotten group, said the police handling of the original investigation had led to vital clues being lost.

“The combination of incompetence and downright carelessness on the part of those charged with protecting the people of Ireland is downright damnable,” he said.

“If Justice Barron has done nothing more than establish that fact then he has done a great deal.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy said the British Government had been committed to helping the inquiry and viewed the bombings in 1974 as “an act of obscene evil“.

Mr Murphy promised to study the report carefully.

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