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A 40-year search for the truth

IT was the bombing campaign which shocked the nation. Four separate blasts tore through Dublin and Monaghan with no warning, claiming the 34 lives, including an unborn baby.

The bombings marked the greatest loss of life in a single day during the Troubles.

At 5.28pm the first bomb exploded in Parnell Street, instantly killing 11 people. Two minutes later, 14 people were killed in a second bomb explosion in Talbot Street followed by a third bomb in South Leinster Street, killing two women.

Just an hour-and-a-half later, a fourth bomb exploded in Monaghan town, claiming another seven lives.

But 40 years on, no one has ever been held accountable.

Now survivors and families who lost loved ones are hopeful that they may finally get closure with an investigation by authorities in the North due to start later this year.

ACTION

Papers have also been filed for a civil action against the British government in the Belfast High Court.

Margaret Urwin of Justice for the Forgotten said families were aware that their final fight to get answers could be a long one.

“This action is a last resort after every other avenue has been closed to us. It really is the last chance saloon,” she said.

Letters of claim have been issued and the group’s legal team is now awaiting a response from the British authorities before issuing writs.

“It is likely to be very difficult and very protracted and we are expecting lengthy delays,” she said.

“The families are aware of this. We don’t know if we will get very far at all and we know we will have a lot of barriers to surmount.”

An investigation by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland into the bombings will begin later this year. The office will officially investigate complaints made by Justice for the Forgotten against the RUC.

The complaints state that the RUC did not properly investigate the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, with a second aspect raising concerns about possible collusion by agents of the State, including the RUC, in the bombings.

“The complaints were officially accepted last autumn and we’ve been informed that the investigation will begin later this year, but we have no timeframe for how long it might take, it could be a couple of years,” Ms Urwin said.

INVESTIGATION

They’re urging garda authorities to fully co-operate with the investigation.

“The Northern Ireland Ombudsman will need garda files to fully investigate the matter and we are hoping that all of these will be made available and made available in a prompt manner. If the Ombudsman is to fully investigate our concerns these files will be vital,” she added.

Meanwhile, the group expressed delight that it could continue its fight for justice as a result of the Irish Government reinstating its funding.

Government funding was pulled from the project in 2009.

It was only earlier this month that they committed further funding to the organisation, allocating €48,000.

“We would have been forced to close our doors in June but thankfully the Government has now come to our rescue,” Ms Urwin said.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the series of bombings today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny will lay a wreath at the Memorial to the victims in Talbot Street.

An anniversary Mass will also be celebrated by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral this afternoon.

hnews@herald.ie


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