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Patrick O'Donovan: 'I don't differentiate between atrocities'

The junior minister suggested in an interview that republicans were responsible for the Dublin-Monaghan bombings.

Patrick O' Donovan has been criticised for comments he made in an interview with the Sunday Independent newspaper over the weekend.
Patrick O' Donovan has been criticised for comments he made in an interview with the Sunday Independent newspaper over the weekend.
Image: Leah Farrell

MINISTER OF STATE for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Patrick O’Donovan, has said he does not differentiate between atrocities of the Troubles.

The Limerick TD has come in for criticism from Sinn Féin for comments he made in an interview published over the weekend in which he suggested Sinn Féin played a role in the Dublin-Monaghan bombings.

During the bombings of 17 May 1974, three bombs exploded in Dublin during rush hour and a fourth exploded in Monaghan almost ninety minutes later, killing 33 civilians and injuring almost 300.

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a loyalist paramilitary group from Northern Ireland, claimed responsibility for the bombings in 1993.

The minister told his constituency’s local radio station, Limerick’s Live 95FM, there was “cherry-picking” of his comments by Sinn Féin, stating that his comments were made in the context of a wide-ranging interview.

O’Donovan told the radio station that anyone involved in conflict during the Troubles should bring relevant information forward.

Any atrocities that have taken place in the name of anybody on this island or indeed in Britain during the troubles have an obligation to bring them forward and until such time as they do I have a difficulty with people suggesting that they would be fit to govern.
I don’t differentiate between atrocities whether it is Enniskillen, Omagh, Dublin, Monaghan and all of the victims, whether they are dead gardaí or dead members of the prison service – their families have a right to know what happened and who carried them out.

O’Donovan told the Sunday Independent last weekend he will always remember the day that Jerry McCabe was murdered.

“But I also think about another garda, Seamus Quaid, whose brothers and sisters live here in Newcastle West. This was a man lured to his death in a quarry in Wexford. His family has to bear that cross.

“Have they or the McCabes ever had proper reconciliation? I don’t think so,” he said, adding:

They are just two victims. What about Brian Stack? What about the innocent children blown to smithereens indiscriminately in the likes of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings? That was not done in my name or in the name of any right-minded person.
So when I hear senior people of a political party talk about ‘legitimate combatants’, in whose eyes? Who voted for that? I certainly didn’t.

Calls for an apology 

Sinn Féin has called on the minister to apologise for the comments made in the interview, which the party describe as “absolutely bewildering”.

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan told TheJournal.ie that he wants an apology from O’Donovan on behalf of the Justice for the Forgotten Campaign – a campaign for the victims which has received unanimous support from the Dáil.

It’s reported today that the campaign group has also called on the minister to apologise for the comments made.

“He needs to apologise and he needs to really educate himself and meet these people so he can understand what they’ve been through. This was the biggest terrorist incident to ever happen on the isle of Ireland,” said Gavan.

How does it look when a government minister comes out with a statement as wrong-headed and just as plain stupid as this?

TheJournal.ie contacted Patrick O’Donovan for comment, but he could not be reached by the time of publication.

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