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President Higgins Alamy Stock Photo

Dublin and Monaghan bombings: Answers sought from UK over 'unacceptable' justice failure

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the bombings which resulted in the greatest loss of life on any single day of the Troubles.


PRESIDENT MICHEAL D Higgins has said it is a “manifest failure” of the British and Irish Governments that no one has been held accountable for the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

President Higgins was speaking at a memorial event in Dublin held to mark the 50th anniversary of the bombings and remember the 34 people, including one unborn baby, that were killed.

“Even in the context of the many atrocities committed at that time, the Dublin and Monaghan car bombings of 1974 were crimes of a particular level of savagery, executed consciously upon workers and civilians with total disregard for human life and suffering,” President Higgins said.

Addressing the loved ones of the victims in attendance, Higgins said the people of Ireland stand in solidarity with them in their loss. 

“Your families who have had to bear the grief of those tragic events, and, added to it, have had to bear the long wait for information on those tragic events, that was and is your right,” Higgins said.

The President added that it is “unacceptable” that no group or institution has been made accountable for the atrocities.

He continued:

Let us take the opportunity that today’s commemoration constitutes to reaffirm not only our commitment to peace, and our revulsion of war and conflict, but our support for the relatives and all members of the public whose reasonable demand is, however embarrassing or painful it may be, for the full truth to emerge.

Criticism of Legacy Act

The President also criticised the current British Government’s Legacy Act saying it has resulted in families who have spent decades fighting for an effective investigation into their cases facing “further uncertainty and delays”. 

He also said it was a “deprivation of legal rights”.

“It is not morally acceptable, nor is it politically feasible, to request that those affected by such tragedy should forget about the past, draw a line or move on in the name of any naive desire for a supposed closure that may never be attainable.”

Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tánaiste Micheál Martin also attended the memorial in Dublin this morning in Talbot Street, which took place at the monument to those killed in the bombings.

Former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Leo Varadkar were also in attendance.

Speaking to PA news agency, Ahern said he had been told by former UK prime minister Tony Blair that MI5 and MI6 “probably” have information on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings but would not release it.

He called on the UK intelligence services to do so.

The event was organised by Justice for the Forgotten, which represents bereaved families and survivors of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and other atrocities.

The memorial event was preceded by a church service in St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.

a-message-on-a-wreath-to-be-laid-by-president-of-ireland-michael-d-higgins-during-a-wreath-laying-ceremony-at-the-memorial-to-the-victims-of-the-dublin-and-monaghan-bombings-on-talbot-street-in-dublin A message on a wreath laid by President Higgins during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Memorial in Dublin. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

President Higgins will also lay a wreath in Monaghan this evening, with Minister Heather Humphreys representing the Government.

On this day 50 years ago, three no-warning bombs went off across Dublin city centre and one exploded in Monaghan town.

It remains the greatest loss of life on any single day of the Troubles, and over 300 people were also injured.

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

Speaking in advance of the memorial, the Taoiseach Simon Harris said today is an opportunity to “remember all those who lost their lives and were injured, and think of their families”.

He added: “I know their hurt has been compounded by a lack of truth and of justice for the victims since, and of immediate support for the families in the difficult years that followed.

“Today, we honour the memories of those who died, the more than 300 people injured, and the bereaved, both those living and those who have died in the years since.

“Today, Dublin and Monaghan remember.”

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Micheál Martin remarked that the Dublin and Monaghan tragedies live on in families in Ireland and abroad.

He said: “The loss and suffering of families was magnified by inadequate investigation at that time.

“The Barron and MacEntee inquiries answered some questions and raised some more, including the possibility of collusion.

“I have been following up with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Chris Heaton-Harris) on the provision of sensitive material which may help answer some of those questions.”

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said today’s anniversary brings about a new determination to find out the truth about what happened.

“It is as incomprehensible today, as it was all those decades ago, to think that bombs could be planted so callously, with no regard for human life,” said McEntee.

She remarked that the loss experienced by the families had been compounded “by the frustration and hurt of unanswered questions”.

McEntee added: “The Government is fully committed to seeking out the truth behind those events and, hopefully, to secure some measure of comfort for the victims’ families and the survivors.

“The Government for our part, will continue to pursue all possible avenues to uncover the truth of what happened on this day in 1974.”

- With additional reporting from Press Association and Diarmuid Pepper

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