I welcome the opportunity to support this all-party motion on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, in which 33 people and an unborn child were murdered in a series of devastating explosions which mark 17 May 1974 as the single bloodiest day of the Troubles. I extend my gratitude to Justice for the Forgotten for continuing to carry the torch regarding this very dark moment in our past, particularly in Monaghan town in my constituency.
Previous inquiries by Mr. Justice Barron have raised serious concerns over non-co-operation by the British Government, with efforts to uncover who was responsible. Relatives of the victims continue to campaign to have their claims of state collusion with paramilitaries fully explored, with complete access to British files. These families and the relatives of the 3,500 victims of the Troubles deserve the truth through a clear, reliable mechanism. Prime Minister David Cameron has previously refused to release all the files on the issue, stating that all appropriate materials have been released. The Fianna Fáil Party has consistently supported the relatives and raised the issue of full access to the files at every available opportunity when meeting with British officials and politicians. The failure in the Fresh Start agreement to agree on the best mechanism to deal with the past must be addressed.
Families who have lost loved ones in the Troubles on both sides deserve the truth. On 17 May 1974, two car bombs exploded in the centre of Dublin. They were detonated simultaneously and timed and placed to cause the maximum level of carnage and disruption, while leaving escape routes free for the attackers. Some hours later a fourth bomb, apparently intended to divert police and security forces from individuals trying to cross back from the Republic into the North of Ireland, exploded in my own constituency, in the border town of Monaghan. Twenty-seven people were killed in Dublin and six in Monaghan.
There needs to be a clear route to address the outstanding legacy of those dark days of the Troubles. Today's motion is one aspect of that. The British Government should take the lead and open their files to an independent investigation. The families and communities devastated by these atrocities deserve the truth.