Ahern does not expect more 1974 UK files

Tuesday 03 February 2004 17.02

The Taoiseach has said he does not believe any further British files on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings will be forthcoming, no matter what sort of an inquiry is set up.

Mr Ahern was answering questions in the Dáil on the Barron Inquiry, and the possiblity of a further public inquiry into the bombings.

He told Opposition TDs that he did not think they were going to get any other documents from the British side.

The Taoiseach said he believed co-operation with the Barron Inquiry from the Northern Ireland Office and the British Defence Department had been good, but that it did not seem to have been possible to get any information out of MI5 or MI6.

He added that he didn't think the British Prime Minister was withholding any files or information knowingly.

Barron at Oireachtas Committee

Earlier, Mr Justice Henry Barron told the Oireachtas Justice Committee that the Fine Gael-Labour government of 1974 could have done more to catch those responsible for the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

In his recently-published report, Mr Justice Barron had concluded that the Fine Gael/Labour coalition of the day lacked concern about the bombings.

This finding was rejected last week by former TD Paddy Cooney, who was Minister for Justice at the time.

Taking questions at the Committee, Mr Justice Barron said it was not his job to enter the public arena about submissions made on his report.

He said he was there to explain anything in the report that needed to be explained.

The judge did say his report generally indicated there was a high level of collusion operating in Northern Ireland at around the time of the bombings.

However, he said his enquiries could not reach a conclusion as to whether or not there was any form of collusion involved in the bombings that claimed 33 lives in May 1974.

Mr Justice Barron said his report was based on what he could stand over.

Because files from the Dept of Justice and garda security files are missing, he said, information on members of the UVF who were particular suspects for the bombings was not available to him.