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Taoiseach criticises British government inaction on 48th anniversary of Dublin and Monaghan bombings

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin lays a wreath in Talbot Street, Dublin, during a ceremony marking the 48th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Picture: PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin lays a wreath in Talbot Street, Dublin, during a ceremony marking the 48th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Picture: PA

Destruction caused by the Monaghan bomb IN 1974

Destruction caused by the Monaghan bomb IN 1974

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin lays a wreath in Talbot Street, Dublin, during a ceremony marking the 48th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Picture: PA

The Government is still pressing Britain to fulfil a promise to open its files on the worst day of the Troubles to afflict the Republic, the Taoiseach said today.

The Dublin and Monaghan bombings of exactly 48 years ago today killed at total of 33 people, including a pregnant woman. Many more were seriously injured.

Three no-warning car bombs exploded in Dublin and a fourth in Monaghan town on Friday afternoon, May 17, 1974.

It is widely believed that the Loyalists blamed for the bombings had covert British Army assistance in planting the devastating devices, as the paramilitaries had no explosive capability at the time.

“The Government remains committed to seeking out the truth of the tragic events of that day and their aftermath,” the Taoiseach said.

“We do so to right a wrong and to try and bring closure to survivors and to victims’ families. We stand in solidarity with them.”

Former British prime minister David Cameron signed up to a deal whereby the UK would provide the full information it had on the bombings. Senior historians believe the bombings were coordinated by a British spy chief under a secret intelligence operation known as Clockwork Orange.

“We have raised these issues with the British Government consistently, and at the highest levels,” Mr Martin said.

Ireland had highlighted three motions passed in the Dáil, “with the unanimous support of all shades of political opinion,” that Britain should honour its promises.

“We will continue to engage with the British Government with a view to ensuring access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents relating to the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings,” Mr Martin said.

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Destruction caused by the Monaghan bomb IN 1974

Destruction caused by the Monaghan bomb IN 1974

Destruction caused by the Monaghan bomb IN 1974

He went on to criticise newly-announced UK proposals on how to deal with legacy issues from the Troubles. Britain will give immunity from prosecution to anyone who participate in its planned new truth recovery process.

Mr Martin said: “As recently as February, we had further statements on legacy in the Dáil, and it is very reassuring that there continues to be solid and determined agreement and support across the House on this matter.

“It has been our consistent position that the basis for progress on legacy is the Stormont House Agreement that was reached between the two Governments and political parties back in 2014,” he said.

“Any attempt to depart from that Agreement would need to be discussed by both Governments and with all of the parties in an inclusive process. And there would need to be serious and credible engagement with victims and families.”


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