RUC colluded with UDA in 1974 bombings, report finds

Senan Molony Political Correspondent

THE report on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974 - the worst day of the Northern troubles - will make sensational findings of collusion between the RUC and the UDA, the Irish Independent has learned.

The 300-page report also catalogues a series of bungles in the official Garda investigation into the killings which thwarted efforts to bring those responsible for the twin atrocities to justice.

The report's author, Mr Justice Henry Barron, will outline his findings to the Dail Justice Committee on Thursday. It will show that the Loyalists behind the delivery of the devices to the targets had sophisticated assistance from within the security forces.

One source close to the report said the findings would prove embarrassing for some, but would "give Sinn Fein a further lift in the polls".

The report will be released for publication on Thursday after it has been assessed by the committee, it is understood. The document analyses the planning and execution of the car-bomb carnage which claimed 33 lives in the two locations. It also shows the Gardai made bad mistakes in follow-up investigations.

Further public hearings into the Barron report are likely to be scheduled in the New Year, it is understood.

Last week the Government moved the terms of reference for the report to be handed over to the justice committee's cross-party group of TDs and Senators.

Names of those alleged to be responsible will be blacked out from the released document, so as not to compromise any future prosecutions. Many of the senior gardai at the heart of the investigation are now dead, and most are retired. Even after 30 years, the Garda file on both bombings remains open.

The report has taken nearly four years to complete, with much delay encountered in requests to the British authorities for assistance and information. It was first begun by former Chief Justice Liam Hamilton in January 2000, and taken over on his death by Mr Justice Barron.

Meanwhile the Government is hopeful of passing legislation to establish the Monitoring Body for the Good Friday Agreement before the Christmas recess.

The body will police any resumption of the peace process in the context of the Good Friday Agreement.

It was set up mainly to restore Unionist confidence in the wake of the Stormont spying allegations which torpedoed the Northern Assembly for a second time, more than a year ago. Asked to watch over the maintenance of paramilitary ceasefires, it will also check that demilitarisation by the British Army moves in tandem with a reduced threat.

And in other news, David Wright, father of murdered LVF chief, Billy Wright, has called on Canadian Judge Peter Cory to publish immediately the contents of his report into allegations of state collusion in six controversial murders. He said recent leaks by British government sources that Judge Cory had recommended five public inquiries must be confirmed or denied.