independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Call to press British PM over files

Margaret Urwin, Monica Duffy Campbell and Bernie McNally from Justice for the Forgotten after their meeting with Enda Kenny in Dublin

Relatives of victims of loyalist bomb attacks in the Republic of Ireland have called on the British Government to hand over all documents on the blasts.

Campaign group Justice for the Forgotten held talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny to put pressure on British Prime Minister David Cameron to open intelligence files and secret papers.

Monica Duffy Campbell was four months pregnant and had a baby daughter when she was widowed after her 23-year-old husband Tommy, a bus conductor, was killed in a blast in Dublin city in 1972. "I'm not looking for anybody to be brought to justice, I just want the truth," the 63-year-old said. "I have no doubt there is information that should be released to us. I think it's the least we deserve."

Justice for the Forgotten appealed to Mr Kenny to urge the British Government to let an independent person review all documents held by police in Northern Ireland and British security forces in relation to five bomb attacks across the Republic in the 1970s. The group said it had had "positive" meetings with British ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott and representatives from the Northern Ireland Office on the issue.

Spokeswoman Margaret Urwin said a former judge commissioned by the Irish Government to look into blasts in Dublin and Monaghan in May 1974 - when 34 people including an unborn baby died - was handed a 10-page summary of intelligence documents by British officials. It was the greatest loss of life in a single day of the Troubles.

Ms Urwin said the Irish Government missed a golden opportunity to raise the issue during Queen Elizabeth's historic visit to Ireland. "We need to get the Government behind us," she added.

More than 20 family members of those killed in Dublin in December 1972 and January 1973, in Dublin and Monaghan in May 1974, in Belturbet in December 1972, in Dundalk in December 1975, and in Castleblayney in March 1976, met the Taoiseach.

Mrs Urwin later described the meeting as very positive and said Mr Kenny has wholeheartedly agreed to support them. "It was a lengthy meeting and he listened to a family representative from every bombing," she said outside Government Buildings. "I think he found it very moving. We appealed to him to support us in our endeavours with the British Government and he has wholeheartedly agreed to that."

Mr Kenny confirmed that the Irish Government is committed to urging the British Government to hand over all original documents in its possession relating to the bombings.

"I invited the families and survivors to meet me to hear first-hand how their lives have been affected by some of the worst bombings from the Troubles," he said. "I fully support the all-party Dail motions of July 2008 and May 2011 urging the British Government to hand over all original documents in their possession relating to the bombings. My Government and previous governments have raised this issue with our Westminster counterparts on a number of occasions and we will continue to do so. Dealing with the legacy of the past is not an easy task. There is no simple formula of words or actions that can put things right. My Government is strongly committed to working in partnership with the British Government and with our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Executive to find ways to address the legacy of conflict in Northern Ireland."

Press Association

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