Garda chief rules out investigation into bombings

THE Garda Commissioner yesterday ruled out the reopening of the investigations in to bombing atrocities in the State including the Dublin and Cavan blasts which killed five people over thirty years ago.

Commissioner Noel Conroy told TDs and senators he could not see how the gardai could now advance in any way the investigations conducted in the early 1970s.

He was speaking to the Special Oireachtas Committee examining the Barron Report in to the bombings of 1972 and 1973.

Three busmen were killed in two blasts in Sackville Place and Eden Quay in the early 1970s and two teenagers lost their lives in a bomb in Belturbet, Co Cavan in 1972. There were also 10 other bombs and three murders in the state in the early 70s and these are now being examined by the special Oireachtas Committee.

"I would not want to build up hopes of the relatives of the victims. I can't see how we could advance in any way the investigations conducted then. It would be very wrong of me to give false hopes and linger on with an investigation," the commissioner said.

"My professional viewpoint is I don't see how we could be in a position to develop the investigations any further. I'm sorry to say it," he said.

But the Commissioner did say he would appoint a liaison officer to speak to the families of the bereaved and go through the garda files on their behalf. And any questions they had would be answered but it might be difficult in relation to intelligence matters. Mr Conroy said the gardai could "give indications" of what the intelligence was at the time in relation to the crimes.

He said, like the families of the victims, he would like closure in the cases. He had looked at the files and he could see where the investigating officers had run in to difficulties which could not be overcome.

Referring to the 1972 Eden Quay and Sackville Place bombings, Mr Conroy said 319 written interviews are recorded on the Garda investigation file.

When asked about an anonymous call at the time linking five people to the bombings Mr Conroy said he found nothing to support putting evidence before the DPP.

Ann O'Loughlin

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