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Monday 19 March 2018

Robinson rejects Paisley's bombing claims that Irish government was ultimately responsible

Peter Robinson. Photo: Getty Images
Peter Robinson. Photo: Getty Images

IAN Paisley's claim that the Irish government was ultimately responsible for the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings has been utterly rejected by his long-time protege, Peter Robinson.

Dr Paisley's comments -- that the Dublin government brought the horrific 1974 atrocities on themselves -- has caused outrage on both sides of the Border.

But the Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson accused his long-time boss of going down "a very dangerous road" in his comments about the largest single day of murder during the 30-year conflict.

Speaking at the Google headquarters in Dublin, Mr Robinson said terrorists were solely responsible for the bombings.

"We're talking about the murder of 33 innocent people and I have a settled and clear view about terrorism. The people who are responsible for terrorists' actions are terrorists," he said.

"I don't go down that road. It's a very dangerous road to go down," Mr Robinson stated in relation to Dr Paisley's claims.

"I believe that those who are responsible are those who put their hands to priming the bomb, placing the bomb and killing 33 innocent individuals," he added.

Dr Paisley (87) is currently recovering in a hospital in Dundonald, Co Down, after taking ill late last year.

He made the claims in what could be his last ever television interview which is due to be aired on Monday night.

Dr Paisley said that he was shocked by the bombings and he insisted that they were not justified. However, he claimed that the government at the time bore responsibility.

"But I mean who brought that on them? -- themselves," he said.

"It was their own political leaders, who they had endorsed in their attitude to Northern Ireland. At that time the attitude of the southern government was ridiculous."

Dr Paisley welcomed the apology made by British Prime Minister David Cameron to the families of the 13 victims of Bloody Sunday.


Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore yesterday said he believed the interview will be of "very significant, historic interest".

But the Labour leader rejected the claim that the then Dublin government provoked the bombings.

"The people who were on Talbot Street and Parnell Street on that day did not bring it themselves. They were innocent victims of a horrific act of terrorism and the responsibility for that act rests squarely on those who planted those bombs," Mr Gilmore said.

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said that people may be "pleasantly" surprised by Mr Paisley's acknowledgement regarding Bloody Sunday.


Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Irish Independent

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