Ahern questioned on bombings probe

Tuesday 28 March 2006 16.21
1974 bombings - 33 killed in Dublin & Monaghan
1974 bombings - 33 killed in Dublin & Monaghan

The Taoiseach has told the Dáil he believes the British authorities are co-operating with an investigation into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Senior Counsel Patrick MacEntee is the sole member of a commission inquiring into aspects of the loyalist bombings, which killed 33 people.

Last month, Mr MacEntee was granted an extension of his investigation until the end of May, after co-operation from what he described as ‘certain entities’.

During today’s Dáil proceedings, Labour leader Pat Rabbitte asked if this referred to the British authorities, or to loyalist paramilitaries.

Mr Ahern said the assumption in his department was that the co-operation was from British authorities, which had not given information before.

The Taoiseach also told deputies that the Attorney General had ruled out taking a case to the European court to force the British government to release documentation.

Sinn Féin's Caoimghin Ó Caoláin asked if Mr Ahern would call on his predecessor, Liam Cosgrave, to co-operate with the MacEntee investigation, but Mr Ahern said Mr Cosgrave had made his position clear and he did not want to comment further.

Thirty three people died in loyalist bombings in Dublin and Monaghan on 17 May, 1974. Nobody was ever brought to justice for the atrocity.

Part of the terms of reference for the commission is to inquire into the failure of the gardaí to follow up on a number of leads, including an alleged sighting of a British Army corporal in Dublin at the time of the bombings.