A MAN who lost his mother in the Dublin Monaghan bombings 40 years ago has revealed how the families of victims are still desperately seeking answers regarding the brutal deaths of their loved ones.
In all, 33 people, along with an unborn child, were killed in the blasts which ripped through Dublin and Monaghan on May 17, 1974 - 40 years ago this Saturday.
Kevin O’Loughlin (64), from Lucan, lost his mother Christina in the South Leinster Street explosion. Mrs O’Loughlin worked in the Shelbourne Hotel as a french polisher. She had been returning home from work when she was caught up in the fatal blast.
Mr O’Loughlin said that while many of the outstanding questions had now been answered, the families would not have closure until the British Government allowed access to all documents relating to the bombings.
“If they even allowed access to one agreed person that would be a help.
“All we want is the truth. I don’t need any trials and I don’t think we’ll see any convictions or anything like that. The truth is we just want to find out as much as there is to know. We just need some sort of acknowledgement,” he added.
Recalling the day of the bombings, Mr O’Loughlin told of the family’s anxiety and worry in the hours following the blast as they waited on word of their mother and wife.
“We only found out she had died hours later. We had no telephone and we waited the whole evening for news, we knew the bomb had gone off close to where she would have been walking home but we hoped she might have only been injured.
“But, as the hours passed, we knew it was worse. In the early hours, my father went out to the hospitals and morgue and I think he found her in the morgue. We never got to see her remains she had been so badly injured,” he told the
Four decades later, Mr O’Loughlin recalled how the families of the deceased were left feeling isolated and adrift, with little assistance from the government of the time.
“I remember we got through the funerals and after that we were just left to ourselves by the State. It was only decades later in the ’90s when people started to question what had happened.
“For the first number of years their deaths weren’t even commemorated by anyone but the families privately.
“It was like these people had just disappeared and they weren’t spoken about. We were isolated and the State was not interested,” he said.
Mr O’Loughlin’s father, Kevin, was heavily involved in the Justice for the Forgotten campaign, seeking answers for the families.
“For years he didn’t speak much about what had happened,” he said. “It was too upsetting and this was a way of coping. There was no counselling or anything like that.
“We had to just get over it but we always wondered what had happened and who was involved. It was only through the campaign that we got to know the other families,” he added.