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Northern Ireland News

Republic's Bomb Files Vanished Feb 4 2004

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern came under fire last night after it was revealed that security files on the worst single day of violence in the Troubles had ''vanished''.

Asked to explain why the data on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings were missing from the Department of Justice, Mr Ahern said he did not know how or where it had happened.

"The fact of the matter is that a significant amount of detailed files did totally go missing and have not been retrieved. I cannot explain that,'' he told the Republic's parliament.

Justice Henry Barron, who conducted an inquiry into the atrocities, had no other way of accessing the information.

Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte told the Dail it was ''extraordinary'' that the government could just put its hands up and say the files were missing.

Mr Ahern said he would not take any action until the joint parliamentary committee, currently considering Justice Barron's report, produces its own findings next month.

The judge yesterday stuck to his conclusion that the government of the day had lacked concern about the bombings and had not investigated the atrocities fully.

He told the Irish Parliamentary Justice Committee: "One of the matters which we were never able to get a full view on was whether there was a policy that gardai could not go North to question suspects,'' he said.

While the report indicates that there was a high level of collusion in Northern Ireland at the time, he said it was only concerned with whether there was any proof of collusion in relation to the bombings.

The Dublin bombs on May 17, 1974, killed 27 people. The Monaghan bomb on the same day killed seven people.

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