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Saturday 7 December 2019

Bombing victims sue British government 40 years on

Derek Byrne, Dublin Survivor, during a press conference by Justice for the Forgotten in Buswell's Hotel, Dublin.
Derek Byrne, Dublin Survivor, during a press conference by Justice for the Forgotten in Buswell's Hotel, Dublin.
(L to R) Alan Brecknell from the Pat Finucane Centre, Derek Byrne Dublin Survivor, Margaret Urwin, Paddy Askin, whose father, Paddy, died in the Monaghan bombings, Kevin Winters, KRW law Llp during a press confernece by Justice for the Forgotten in Buswell's Hotel, Dublin.

Emma Jane Hade

SURVIVORS and family members of the victims of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bomb attacks are set to sue the British government.

The group, which is comprised of 25 people, lodged the papers in the High Court in Belfast yesterday, just days before the 40th anniversary of the outrages.

Kevin Winters, the solicitor who is working with the victims, said the action was being taken against the Ministry of Defence, the chief constable of the PSNI and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

The case is being led by Paddy Askin, whose father Paddy was among 34 people killed in the 1974 explosions, and Dublin man Derek Byrne, who survived the attack.

Nobody has ever been charged in connection with the atrocity. It has been alleged that the Ulster Volunteer Force was behind the attacks.

The decision to take legal action was announced in Dublin yesterday and Margaret Urwin, co-ordinator of the 'Justice for the Forgotten' group, said they came to it "reluctantly", adding: "The families have been very patient and they have been waiting 40 years for answers."


A report carried out in 2003 by Mr Justice Henry Barron concluded that the bombers may have had assistance from the British security forces, but that the lack of documentation left no conclusive proof.

"When Barron's report was published, he said its scope was limited by the failure of the British to provide original documents," Ms Urwin added.

Four bombs were detonated over a 90-minute period on May 17, 1974 – three in Dublin and one in Monaghan. The attacks are regarded as the worst atrocity of the Troubles.

The survivors and family have said that this legal action is their last resort in seeking answers.

Derek Byrne said he was just 14 when he was seriously injured and that it had a profound impact upon his life.

"I was pronounced dead upon arrival at Jervis Street Hospital and woke in the morgue two hours after," he recalled.

He underwent an 18-hour emergency operation and spent two months in a coma.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said he was renewing his call on the British government "to allow access on an agreed basis by an independent international judicial figure to the original documents in their possession relating to the bombings".

Irish Independent

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