Monday 27 May 2019

Survivors hear Enda will seek answers in UK

But families of Dublin-Monaghan bomb victims still wait for closure

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the memorial on Talbot Street, Dublin, to the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974. Photo: David Conachy
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the memorial on Talbot Street, Dublin, to the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974. Photo: David Conachy

Joanna Kiernan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told the survivors and families of those who died in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings that the Government would continue to seek answers from the UK authorities about the murders.

"As we commemorate the Dublin and Monaghan bombings this Government continues to urge the British government to allow access to documents relating to these murders," Mr Kenny told the crowd at a special ceremony on Talbot Street, Dublin, yesterday to mark the 40th anniversary of the atrocities.

"As Taoiseach, I have been raising the issue with the British Prime Minister David Cameron," he said. "The Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore, has also raised the matter with the secretary of state for Northern Ireland. Certainly dealing with the past, dealing with the legacy of hatred on this island is difficult." But it must be done, he added.

Several hundred people attended the commemoration at the site of one of four bombs detonated on May 17, 1974, to pay their respects to the 34 people who died.

Wendy Doherty was with her pregnant mother, Colette, in Dublin when she was killed alongside her unborn child that day. Wendy was flanked at the ceremony yesterday by her son Tyler (8), who made his First Communion just hours before. "It's just horrific to think it's been 40 years and there are still no answers, still nobody cares and it's a lot deeper than who did it, it's families that have been destroyed," Wendy, who was just a year old when the attacks took place, told the Sunday Independent.

"You can't let it go, you can't get closure and it's the same for my dad, his pregnant wife went into town one day and never came home. I was found wandering the streets and then just dumped in the hospital in all the hysteria," she added.

Aidan Shields' mother Maureen was also killed. "I was 19 years of age and I had two sisters who were 15 and 11 at the time and then 22 months after this my father died, so there were three of us left without any parents," he said. "It would be nice to get some answers after 40 years, it's ridiculous that we've had to wait this long, but we're still here and we're still looking.

"Even if the British government didn't release the papers, but let somebody in to read them and give us some answers.

"They've spoken to David Cameron, they've spoken to Teresa Villiers and the British ambassador – and were making great progress – but, last November, things just shut down completely for some unknown reason," Aidan said.

Monaghan mayor, SF's Sean Conlon, commended the improvements in Anglo-Irish relations over the past few years, but added that "until such time as the various documents and information being withheld by forces within the British government are uncovered, those relations will count for very little indeed".

At a Mass in the Pro-Cathedral following the event, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said the bombings had done "great harm to our society". He said: "These bombs were acts of senseless violence. Senselessness does not mean, however, that these actions were not planned and were not the fruits of detailed premeditation.

"We seek to know the truth, not out of a sense of revenge; we seek the truth as followers of Jesus Christ, who is, as our Gospel reading reminded us, 'the way, the truth and the life'. The truth is a fundamental dimension of the way to the fullness of life," he said.

Last week, Mr Gilmore said he found it "disappointing" that it has not yet been possible for the UK government to respond positively to the Dublin-Monaghan families. On Wednesday, it emerged the victims and families of those who died in the atrocities are to sue the British government.

It is believed that British security forces colluded with the UVF who claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Sunday Independent

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