Sunday Business Post

Cosgrave's shameful failure

Efforts to excuse the shameful failure of the Cosgrave government to track down the perpetrators of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings beggar belief.

Take the reaction by Minister for Justice Michael McDowell to the publication of the report by Mr Justice Barron into the attacks. McDowell paid tribute to the judge for completing a thorough examination and assessment of the circumstances surrounding the single greatest atrocity to have been visited upon citizens of the Republic during theTroubles.

But from there the minister embarked on an exercise in exculpation. It was a matter of regret to McDowell that the Barron report found inadequacies in the Garda investigation. Inadequacies? Let's call them what they were - systematic failures of the Garda Siochana to discharge the most basic duties with which it is tasked. If the force was incapable of preventing 33 people, including a pregnant woman,being killed and many more injured, at the very least it should have spared no effort in tracking down those who committed the offences.

What of the evidence in the Barron report that some gardai were wittingly or unwittingly working for the British? Why have those who did so knowingly never been brought to justice, having betrayed the interests of the state?

There seems to be an attempt to suggest that, by citing state security, it is possible to detract from the failure to protect the citizens of the Republic.With this in mind, the inaction of the Cosgrave government, when names of suspect bombers were given to it by the British authorities, looks all the more sinister. To this must be added the loss of important forensic evidence, the slow motion conduct of the investigation and, finally, the disappearance of files from the Department of Justice.

In the aftermath of the murders, then taoiseach Liam Cosgrave spoke of his commitment to bring the perpetrators to justice.Three decades on, the words still ring hollow to the families and friends of those killed in the attacks.

The Barron report is an indictment of the government Cosgrave led.Yet what has been the public response by some of its leading figures who are still alive? Presumably Cosgrave, former justice minister Paddy Cooney, former minister for foreign affairs Garret FitzGerald and their cabinet colleague Conor Cruise O'Brien are acquainting themselves with the report's contents.

But their silence is damning. Had a Fianna Fail-led government presided over such a disgrace, it is likely that the same people who are now concocting excuses for Cosgrave and his colleagues would be baying for blood.The depredations visited on the economy by FitzGerald become clearer with the passing of time. However, his role in the Cosgrave cabinet after the bombings is likely to inflict even more serious damage to his reputation.

Cosgrave's government displayed such little concern for the lives of Irish people that it emboldened the British in the view that the Northwas essentially their internal problem.This simply served to prolong the conflict and cost more lives.

It is to their shame.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?