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Paisley slammed north and south over bomb claim

POLITICAL leaders both North and South have completely rejected Ian Paisley's claim that the then Irish government was responsible for the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

The former DUP leader was strongly criticised after he said the government "brought that on themselves" in relation to the atrocities.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson accused Mr Paisley of taking "a very dangerous road" by making the remarks.

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.

KILLING

"I don't go down that road – it's a very dangerous road to go down," Mr Robinson stated in relation to Mr 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.

Mr Paisley (87) is currently recovering in a hospital in Dundonald, Co Down, after taking ill before New Year. He made the claims in what is expected to be his last ever television interview, which is due to be aired on Monday night.

Mr 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."

Mr Paisley welcomed the apology made by British prime minister David Cameron to the families of the 14 victims of Bloody Sunday.

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

But the Labour leader distanced himself from the claim that the then government provoked the bombings.

"The bombs that were exploded in Dublin and in Monaghan in 1974 were acts of terrorism. 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.

SURPRISED

"The responsibility for the bombs that took place in both Monaghan and Dublin resides with those people who were there directly," he said.

"While many people will be taken aback at the comments made by Mr Paisley in relation to the Dublin Monaghan bombings, others will be surprised, even pleasantly surprised, that he was prepared to acknowledge that what happened on bloody Sunday was totally and absolutely wrong."

noconnor@herald.ie


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