Call for access to documents on Dublin-Monaghan bombs will not go away – Martin

A call for the UK Government to allow independent access to all documents relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974 will not go away, Ireland’s deputy premier has said.

Micheal Martin told the Dail that the loss and pain suffered in the atrocities 50 years ago “has been compounded by the frustration and hurt of unanswered questions”.

On May 17 1974, three no-warning bombs went off across Dublin city centre and one exploded in Monaghan town.

49th anniversary of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings
Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

No-one has ever been convicted over the bombings but the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) admitted responsibility in 1993.

An official memorial in Dublin honours the 35 victims of the bombings, which included two unborn babies.

It remains the greatest loss of life on any single day of the Troubles.

The Irish Government supported an all-party motion on Tuesday which called on it to press the UK Government to provide access to “relevant material”.

Mr Martin told TDs that on three previous occasions, in 2008, 2011 and 2016, the Dail had “urged the British Government to allow access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents relating to these atrocities”.

He added: “Today, we have the opportunity to repeat that call with one voice.

“This is a demand I have personally made to the British Government in various roles throughout my career in public service, and which I continue to make now in my role as Tanaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs.”

Mr Martin said he had also raised the issue with Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris.

He added: “This British Government can have no doubt of the strength of feelings in this House and, more importantly, the salience of the issue for so many families.

“That, half a century on from the atrocities of 17 May 1974, 21 years after the Barron Inquiry, and 17 years after the final McEntee report, we are still asking for co-operation is a matter of profound regret and disappointment.

“I know from my own engagement with many of those affected that the loss and pain suffered on 17 May 1974 has been compounded by the frustration and hurt of unanswered questions.

“The motion passed today will be sent to the British Parliament.

“I hope that lawmakers there take to heart the message that the demand for access to these documents by an independent figure is not going away.

“Our shared determination to pursue this issue, as a Government and as an Oireachtas, is undiminished.”