1 Mr. Noonan asked the Taoiseach when he expects the commission of inquiry into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings to complete its work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20937/01]
Vol. 543 No. 5
1 Mr. Noonan asked the Taoiseach when he expects the commission of inquiry into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings to complete its work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20937/01]
2 Mr. Quinn asked the Taoiseach the progress made to date by the commission of inquiry into the 1974 Monaghan and Dublin bombings; when he expects that a final report will be published; if he anticipates the publication of an interim report; if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed by relatives of the victims that a delay by the British authorities in providing information sought is delaying the work of the commission; the representations he has made to the British authorities to ensure that there is a definitive response to the request for assistance without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21441/01]
3 Mr. Deenihan asked the Taoiseach if, during his recent meeting with the British Prime Minister, he raised the delay by the United Kingdom Government in furnishing all relevant information and papers held by it to the independent commission of inquiry into the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombing atrocities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22053/01]
4 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach if he has raised with the British Prime Minister the delay by the British authorities in providing all relevant information in its possession to the commission of inquiry into the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings. [22962/01]
5 Mr. Higgins (Dublin West) asked the Taoiseach if he will make a statement on the progress made to date by the commission of inquiry into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. [22972/01]
6 Mr. Gregory asked the Taoiseach when the commission of inquiry into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings will issue its report; if the British authorities have responded to the degree requested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23310/01]
7 Mr. Noonan asked the Taoiseach the costs which have accrued to his Department in respect of the commission of inquiry into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23522/01]
8 Mr. Deenihan asked the Taoiseach his views on the delay by the United Kingdom Government in furnishing information to the independent commission of inquiry into the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombing atrocities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23893/01]
9 Mr. Sargent asked the Taoiseach when the commission of inquiry into the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings is expected to complete its work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24218/01]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 9 together.
I understand that Judge Barron and his team continued with their work over the summer months and they are continuing to make progress.
Deputies will be aware of concerns about the delay in receiving material from the British auth orities. I raised this matter directly with both the British Prime Minister Mr. Blair and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Dr. John Reid, earlier in the summer. I also had the matter raised again recently through the British-Irish secretariat. The British Government is, therefore, very well aware of our interest in this matter. At Mr. Justice Barron's request, I wrote to Dr. Reid recently supporting the judge's request for a meeting with him, and Dr. Reid has confirmed that he will meet Mr. Justice Barron. Contact has been made between the commission and the Secretary of State's office to find a suitable date for a meeting, which it is expected will be soon.
As to the timing of the completion of the report, this is a matter entirely for Mr. Justice Barron and would be linked to the response of the British authorities to his request regarding material.
I met the Justice for the Forgotten group briefly on Tuesday, 25 September, in advance of its meeting with Mr. Justice Barron, and I fully appreciate its concerns. The group had the opportunity to discuss its concerns directly with Mr. Justice Barron.
I understand the question of an interim report has not been considered. All sides would wish that Mr. Justice Barron's report should be as comprehensive as possible, taking account of all the available evidence from all sources, in order to achieve our objective of getting to the truth of what happened.
The costs to date relating to the independent commission of inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings amount to £350,084, or 444,515.
The Government has also facilitated the legal engagement by the group, Justice for the Forgotten, which represents the relatives and victims of the bombings, with the independent commission of inquiry, and the costs incurred to date in this regard amount to £486,252 or 617,412.
The total costs which have arisen, therefore, in relation to the current examination of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings amount to £836,336 or 1,061,927.
Is the Taoiseach aware that the Justice for the Forgotten group has launched a new campaign, based on its view that the British Government is not co-operating with Mr. Justice Barron and that after nine months a document relevant to the inquiry has emerged from the British Government files? I acknowledge that the Secretary of State, Dr. John Reid, has now agreed to meet Mr. Justice Barron. However, when the Taoiseach raised this matter with the British Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland did they give an explanation as to why after nine months no progress has been made?
I am aware of the campaign and I understand it. It was discussed on 25 September when I had a meeting with the full group of relatives, Justice for the Forgotten, and their legal representatives prior to the meeting with Judge Barron.
I raised this matter a number of times in one form and another with Prime Minister Blair, Dr. Reid and officials of the secretariat. I have written more recently and received a reply, as Deputy Noonan has acknowledged. Last March, Dr. Reid reaffirmed to me the British Government's commitment to treating all requests from the inquiry sympathetically. He indicated that all relevant UK Government Departments had been searching their records, that the search was nearing completion and that he hoped to be in a position to soon respond substantively to Mr. Justice Barron's request. Subsequently, we pursued the matter with Prime Minister Blair and Dr. Reid and, formally, through the secretariat.
The Justice for the Forgotten group has expressed frustration because of its belief that it would not get a reply. Naturally, the Government wants Mr. Justice Barron to be in a position to report as soon as possible but he has indicated it is critical he receives the information he has requested. We have not had a commitment regarding that aspect but we have a commitment that there will be a meeting.
Given what has happened over the past seven to eight months, I hope, but I cannot be certain – I do not wish to mislead the House – that if records are not found replies will be made to the substantive questions put by Mr. Justice Barron over the past six to nine months.
The Taoiseach's reply is very unsatisfactory, probably because the information provided by the British Government is equally unsatisfactory. To summarise the position, over nine months ago the British Government said it would treat with sympathy any request put to it by Mr. Justice Barron. He immediately requested information on security or other files in relation to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, yet nothing has happened since by way of reply.
When the Taoiseach raised this matter with Dr. Reid and Prime Minister Blair did he seek a progress report? If there is an enormous number of security files which will take a long time to research, one would have thought the British Government would haveseriatim supplied what becomes available as soon as it is found. It is self-evident that primary files would be in the possession of the British Government dealing with the Dublin and Monaghan bombings because they entailed major loss of life and had major security and political implications, north and south of the Border. Any of us in Government knows that on first receiving a request the primary files can be found. A partial explanation for the delay would be the necessity to examine individually the possibly hundreds of thousands of security files compiled following 30 years of troubles in Northern Ireland. However, the British Government must be in possession of primary files which contain relevant information where it formed a view on what caused the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
There appears to be foot-dragging here. The Taoiseach must take responsibility for the Government and ensure—
A question for the Taoiseach.
I put it to the Taoiseach that he should take responsibility on behalf of the Government and all victims on all parts of this island to ensure that this matter is resolved in a satisfactory manner and that information in possession of the British Government is provided to Mr. Justice Barron forthwith.
I agree with Deputy Noonan and have no argument with what he has said. There must be records of some description. While this is an independent tribunal, I am aware that Mr. Justice Barron has been specific about what he seeks. It does not require a check on every available file. I am not sure what files and records are available but I doubt if that is the problem. If it was we would have obtained some of the records because we have been pressing the issue since early last spring.
I have indicated to the British at various levels, including Prime Minister Blair, the Secretary of State, officials and, formally, the British-Irish Secretariat in writing, that the commission of inquiry which I set up with the support of the House is undertaking a thorough examination involving fact-finding, assessment, all aspects of the bombings and their sequel, facts, circumstances, causes, the perpetrators, investigations into the bombings, including those carried out by the Garda, co-operation with relevant Northern Ireland authorities, including the RUC, the handling of evidence, the reasons no prosecutions took place, whether the investigations were impeded and the evidence from the "Hidden Hand" television documentary. I understand Justice Barron has moved on all these issues, but has not got what he requires from the British. I have some reason to believe, but cannot be certain, that it has been discussed fairly comprehensively within the British system a number of times recently. I say this because when I raised it with the Secretary of State and Prime Minister they were well aware of the issues and well briefed. I hope this meeting will lead to answers and conclusions.
I assume there are records as if they did not exist I am sure they would have written last March saying so – that would have been the easy thing to do. For some reason they have not dispatched those records, but Mr. Justice Barron is very clear and determined in what he is seeking. All of us, including the Justice for the Forgotten group, are supporting him. This is the first time anything has been done since May 1974 and we want to see Justice Barron get access to whatever is available, or at least get answers to his questions.
Does the Taoiseach fully appreciate the sense of frustration being experienced by Justice for the Forgotten which has endured almost 30 years of lack of knowledge about what happened to their loved ones? Will he accept this sense of loss is compounded by the feeling that this attempt to finally get the truth is being frustrated? Does he share the view that the British Government is being unco-operative with the Barron inquiry? Does he also share the view that the inquiry in terms of resources and supports pales into insignificance when one looks at another great tragedy, that of Bloody Sunday, and the resources, focus, attention and openness with which that is being investigated? Regarding the process, it was originally envisaged that the independent report when available would go to a committee of the House. Is that still the position? Will the Taoiseach spell out exactly the process and timeframe he envisages in terms of finally getting the truth about these terrible deeds?
Deputy Howlin has asked three questions. There is a sense of frustration on the part of the relatives who have had to wait 25 years before anything happened. They now have an opportunity to see the issue dealt with. They have worked very closely with Mr. Justice Barron. They have been very co-operative and supportive of him and they see this as their chance to get justice and the truth in so far as the inquiry can be successful in that regard given the lapse of time. I hope the fact that the Secretary of State is to meet Mr. Justice Barron will remove the obstacle that has existed for several months. Mr. Justice Barron cannot, and I think is not prepared to, complete his report without getting the fullest and most comprehensive set of answers and details from the British system. He has been exhaustive in his efforts in regard to the Irish system, to which he is entitled. I am pleased the Secretary of State has finally agreed to meet him and I hope he will be provided with the information necessary to assist him in the work. Both gentlemen must agree a date and I understand the meeting will take place shortly.
In regard to process, Deputy Howlin is correct that is still the position. When Mr. Justice Barron's report is completed it will be brought to the relevant committee of the House and a correct course of action will be decided. Members will recall that when we discussed the issue two years ago the question was raised whether there should be a more full inquiry or whether it would lead to a clear position. That is a call to be made on another day when we receive Mr. Justice Barron's report.
In regard to the discussions the Taoiseach had with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the nature of the discussions he proposes to have with Mr. Justice Barron, is it to fine tune the request for information or to make an explanation as to why the information has not been forthcoming to date?
I do not know. Mr. Justice Barron has acted independently on this issue, as did the late Mr. Justice Liam Hamilton. I have a general idea of what is being sought but I do not know the specifics. I know from meeting the relatives that Mr. Justice Barron is quite clear about what he is seeking to achieve. I do not know if the Secretary of State is in a position to hand over information or whether for some reason he will not hand it over. I am sure when the two gentlemen sit down together at least progress will be made.
What are the Taoiseach's views on the length of time Mr. Justice Barron can wait for the information? Would it be wise to set a deadline for the information to be passed over? Will the Taoiseach agree a cloud of suspicion hangs over the whole process because of the unacceptable delay? The Justice for the Forgotten committee is becoming very concerned that the information will be passed over.
As soon as possible is my answer to the question because there have been unacceptable delays. The Garda, the Department of Defence and other Departments have made an enormous amount of information available in the past two years to allow this independent work take place. This is a sifting through everything exercise, meeting people and following up matters as much as possible. I understand it would be very helpful if Mr. Justice Barron could receive replies to his requests. Perhaps that would open up other areas he wishes to look into. He is adamant he needs information in this regard. I presume he has gleaned the information required from our records. The Garda, the Army and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform have made available an enormous amount of files relating back to May 1974. I am sure the questions are related and cross-related to that information. To get a complete picture and find out what was going on during those years, and subsequently for that matter, Mr. Justice Barron will need as much information as possible from the Northern Ireland Office or Britain.
Given the ever-widening co-operation between the Irish and British Governments, does the Taoiseach accept that for many interested observers it is either unacceptable or incredulous that the Government has no knowledge of the exact reason for the refusal of the British authorities to co-operate with this inquiry? Does the Taoiseach share the view of many people that it is likely that key players in these very sad and tragic events are now very senior members of the British military establishment? On a related issue, does the Taoiseach acknowledge that there has been continuing disappointment that other similar and related events, involving British collusion in that period, were not included in the remit of the Barron inquiry? I refer specifically to the bombing in Castleblayney, County Monaghan, in March 1976 and the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973.
Taking on board the very welcome recommendations of the former Tánaiste, Mr. John Wilson, in his report of the victims' commission, in which he recommended access to all reports and investigations of such tragedies related to the conflict in the North of Ireland over the past 30 years, when will we see action, which is long overdue, on this and other recommendations in Mr. Wilson's report? When will procedures be put in place so that light can be shed on all these events, including the murder, in my county, of the late John Francis Green in 1975? I believe that if all the facts of that case were made public, it would show a link to shadowy figures associated with all the other events which we are currently discussing.
On the first issue, while there have been delays, Dr. Reid has not refused but has said he will deal sympathetically with the requests. I accept it is not unreasonable for people to express concern that, as of November, there has been no further development following that undertaking which was given last March, but I hope the matter will be dealt with. With regard to the bombings in Dublin, Castleblayney and some other individual cases, the Government has no difficulty in terms of the inquiry looking at some of those matters. In some cases, other than those mentioned by the Deputy, the families concerned, for their own legal reasons, do not want the matter dealt with in that way and continue to seek an inquiry. In the cases to which the Deputy referred, there is no difficulty in having the papers looked at but we would prefer to complete the present process first.
With regard to the role of the former Tánaiste, Mr. John Wilson, his preliminary report has been published and is available in this House. Further work is being done on some aspects of that, including his recommendation that some matters be considered from a judicial point of view. Action has been taken, or will be taken, on some of his other recommendations.
With regard to the Taoiseach's reassurance that the recommendations in Mr. Wilson's report will be dealt with, will he indicate whether the recommendations will be acted upon within the lifetime of the Government?
Yes, that is the intention, if possible.
(Dublin West): Does the Taoiseach agree that, nine months after the request for information was submitted to the British Government on foot of the inquiry and a full 27 years after the atrocities were carried out in Dublin and Monaghan, it is simply not good enough that even at this stage a major report has not yet been presented by the British Government? Will the Taoiseach agree that the Dublin and Monaghan bombings were carried out by a ruthless terrorist organisation? There may or may not have been State collusion. In that sense, though different in scale, it is not too different from the atrocity of 11 September.
Will the Taoiseach explain or has he questioned why, in the two months since 11 September, the British Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, has found the time to fly around the world, put together a coalition to bomb Afghanistan in pursuit of various objectives, including the arrest of a suspect in that bombing, and yet he has not found it possible to expedite the information that this Government and our people seek in regard to getting to the bottom of an atrocity about which his forces will perhaps know much? Is it not time that the Government made a public statement to put pressure on the British Prime Minister along these lines, lest we are back here again in the springtime putting the same questions to the same Taoiseach, without being any further forward?
In regard to such information or an agreement between the Irish and British Governments or between the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, is it true, as claimed inIreland on Sunday on 28 October, that agreement was worked out between the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, that the identities of five intelligence operatives of the British state, who may know something about these tragic events, would be identified to the inquiry and is there any substance to the claim in that newspaper that those names have been handed over?
In answer to the first question, as I have said, we are two years into our work and we, in this House, must be conscious that it took a quarter of a century before anything happened in this State. We should not be too righteous about time lost elsewhere.
We have much ground to make up and are doing so. The Secretary of State, Mr. John Reid, has agreed to expedite matters and will meet Mr. Justice Barron. Although I cannot be sure, I hope that will remove the obstacles that exist. As I said in response to Deputy Noonan, although I may have some ideas or feelings as to why those obstacles are there, I do not know for sure so there is no point in speculating. We will have to wait and see how the meeting goes.
I do not want to lose any more time. Many of the relatives are aged and many have suffered long and hard enough. Neither Mr. Justice Barron nor I have any interest in delaying progress on that and I am sure the same is true of the British Government.
As regards speculation, I have read the article mentioned by Deputy Higgins. I will not speculate on any of those issues. There has been much speculation and that has been written in articles.
(Dublin West): We do not want the Taoiseach to speculate, just to tell us what he knows.
The Deputy can take it that none of the claims about matters that I had made an agreement on is true. The newspaper was not accurate in naming people. None of those things is true. It is not at that stage whatsoever. That could be interpreted as suggesting that Mr. Justice Barron had got all this information, but he has not. There is speculation that evidence has been given by some witnesses, which is true.
I understood you would call me after Deputy Higgins.
In the Taoiseach's reply, he said that when he spoke to Mr. Blair, the Prime Minister was well aware of the issues. What response did he get from Mr. Blair to the issues? Did he get an assurance that full co-operation would be given to the Barron inquiry? Did Mr. Blair say when that co-operation would be carried through? If he did not ask those specific questions, would he get clarity on these issues from Mr. Blair at their next meeting, especially given the concern he has expressed about terrorism in recent weeks? I expect him to be concerned about the single worst act of terrorism against the people of Dublin and Monaghan in the past 30 years.
Does the Taoiseach agree there has always been a serious question mark over the 1974 bombings in so far as loyalist paramilitaries, even today almost 30 years later, are only capable of the crudest form of pipe bomb and, thankfully, have never achieved before or since the technology, the timing devices and so on that were a feature of 1974? May it not prove to be the case that elements of the British military establishment were most likely the only source available to the loyalists for such terrorist devices, and that this is the real reason behind the delay, prevarication and lack of co-operation so far from the British authorities?
I raised the questions that he wishes me to raise, and addressed them already. The response from the British Government is that it will treat sympathetically, all requests from Mr. Justice Barron, and Mr. Justice Hamilton. Mr. Blair indicated to me that the relevant UK Government ministries are searching their records and retrieval systems and that this is nearing completion. He hopes to be in a position to respond substantively to Mr. Justice Barron's request and the Secretary of State will follow this up. There have been discussions at a senior level with the British side and Mr. Justice Barron will meet Dr. Reid who will give a response. He knows the issues involved because Mr. Justice Barron has been pursuing these matters for several months.
Deputy Gregory is correct in saying there is much speculation about the other matters raised by him, such as how a sophisticated bombing device came to be used in May 1974. Mr. Justice Barron is trying to get to the truth, to find out what happened, who was involved and who co-operated with whom, and what facts can be uncovered. There is no point in my speculating on it. There has been speculation for 27 years but now we want hard facts and then we will see what follows from that. As I said earlier to Deputy Howlin, under the agreed arrangements, the published report of the commission of inquiry will be considered in public session by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights. The committee may then advise that the truth can only be discovered through a public inquiry, or that its sub-committee should examine the matter, or that the report discovered what truth could be discovered and that no further action would be required or fruitful. These are the decisions that must be made then, but there is no point in speculating before that. I hope we get to that time as soon as possible.
The Taoiseach knows that everyone in the House supports Mr. Justice Barron's inquiry as he is aware, like everyone else, of the speculation and allegations in Deputy Gregory's supplementary question. I put it to him that it is also true that he is losing credibility on this issue because of the long delay and the British Government is certainly beginning to lose credibility because of the long delay.
The Taoiseach said he was quite confident the British administration, at a very senior level, had discussed this. Even the British Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, was fully conversant with the issues when the Taoiseach raised them with him. Did Mr. Blair just say they were very sorry for the delay? In discussions between Prime Ministers, it would be normal to pursue the question and ask why there was a delay, what is causing it and if there is a difficulty in producing the information. The Taoiseach is not being frank with the House. The Taoiseach must have got some explanation from the British Prime Minister if he has a relationship of equality with him. What explanation did the Taoiseach get?
Whatever else I will take responsibility for, I will not take it for this because all my predecessors did nothing since 1974.
The Taoiseach knows that is not true.
When I picked up this issue to follow it through, there had been little or nothing done on it. I took this from scratch. I say that about those on all sides of this House.
It is not true, I know for a fact that it is not true.
I took up this issue on being elected Taoiseach, and I know there are some Members who have followed it for many years. Justice for the Forgotten is made up of more or less the same group of people since the summer of 1975. Those people did not get even lip service from—
That is not true.
I can tell the House that nothing had been done and that is why I have been so anxious to pursue this. There was no investigation here, there was no investigation in the Departments of Justice, Equality and Law Reform or Foreign Affairs, there was no investigation within the Garda and there was no investigation of files, and that is not to mention the British system. Before we get high and mighty and criticise the British – which I have done for nine months anyway – I do not think we should be too strong on this. Examining the records of what happened from 1974 until recently can be sad. That is by the way, it is history now.
Deputy Noonan is right, the normal practice would be to pursue the issue with the British Prime Minister. I pursued the issue and did so a number of times. I do not know the reason the records have not been handed over. I assume there are records there because otherwise they would have written back saying they are not there.
What explanation did Mr. Blair give to the Taoiseach?
The explanation Prime Minister Blair gave was that he would instruct that all the records, in all of the relevant departments, be examined and whatever was there would be dealt with by the secretary of state. I have reason to believe the secretary of state has been active. I do not know why the British system has not handed over whatever its has found, or at least given replies. It has its own legal system, perhaps it is a question of legal advice, but it has not given a reason. It has stated it will conduct an examination of the records, treat the matter sympathetically and be co-operative. Even though there has been a delay we have to take those involved on their word that they are will do that. We had to press hard to get Mr. Justice Barron a meeting with the secretary of the state, Dr. Reid, but we have now achieved that. That has taken some time. We will have to wait and see what Mr. Justice Barron receives from that meeting.
I agree with the Taoiseach that the delay of 27 years is unacceptable. Does he agree that, in international terms, it is deplorable and bizarre that this debate and these questions are being asked so long after the worst mass murder of the troubles of the past 30 years?
Has the Taoiseach given any thought to a proposal my party made at the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation that there may come a time when we will need a truth commission, such as that set up in South Africa, to help uncover some of the truths which seem determined to lie hidden regarding this and other unresolved atrocities? Does he agree that, not only the sophistication of the car bombs of 1974, but also the timing of the atrocity when anti-terrorism legislation was before the Dáil, continues to cast significant suspicion on British security forces? Have these suspicions been put to the British Prime Minister, in whose interest it would seem to be to get to the bottom of this issue, given the lingering cloud of suspicion which hangs over the British establishment regarding this matter?
The British Government has moved on what is probably a far more difficult case for it, namely, Bloody Sunday, regarding which it has had to open up on arrangements and so on. I am not suggesting that one is worse than the other – they are all bad – but once it has done so it should not fear moving on these issues.
People wish to move on and to try to find the truth as best they can. That is also the case with the Justice for the Forgotten group which wishes to see this saga closed. That is what it has tried to achieve for 27 years. I found them to be reasonable people and, in so far as we can, I wish to get to the bottom of this. They are reasonable people who wish to live out their lives, but they wish to see that those who died and those who were injured and maimed for life, are not forgotten. I have some sympathy with their views.
The issue of a truth commission has been raised in the past seven or eight years since the first ceasefire. I can argue this both ways, but there is no great support for this proposal on either side. There is a feeling that one could get into an endless period of going back over cases. I have been at sessions in the North where this issue has been debated around and around. Some believe it could be helpful. However, others have examined what happened in South Africa. The conclusion – I am not suggesting it is a definitive one – but, more or less, the conclusion is that it is probably not the best approach.
Having said that, there are significant demands for investigations into different cases. The Deputy will be aware of the argument regarding the Northern Ireland Police Authority and the issue which arose during the police Bill concerning the look back period. This has been the big issue. Going forward I do not wish to say people will forget this in ten years' time. I do not think they will because in any of these meetings – I do not like putting it in terms of sides – but either side can rattle off,ad nauseum, the ferociousness of many of the horrendous events which have affected its community. Many of the groups such as British Irish Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others relate to a number of the issues which have happened on either side which killed people from both sides. The experiences of the Bloody Sunday tribunal or other issues such as the Nelson and Finucane cases and the Bloody Friday initiatives will, perhaps, satisfy people not to go down this road in all of these cases. That is the current position.
Sometimes I feel that, as years go by, people will continue to look back on some of these issues. There are many unanswered questions on all sides about many of these issues.
There is one minute left and a number of Deputies have offered to speak. I can only take two brief questions from Deputies Deenihan and Howlin.
The time has been up since 3 o'clock.
Yes, but other Deputies with questions on the list insisted.
Will the Deputy be allowed one supplementary?
Will the Taoiseach clarify that the commitment to co-operation is a commitment to providing information by the UK authorities?
Is it the Taoiseach's understanding that as of this minute the British Ministry for Defence, the RUC and the security services in Britain are trawling their files to find relevant information to be given to Mr. Justice Barron? Following his discussions with the British Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, is that the Taoiseach's understanding of the procedure that is under way?
I commend the relatives in the group Justice for the Forgotten for their patience in this matter, patience among suffering. Does the Taoiseach agree that I should also commend them for their patience in dealing with Members of this House because no matter how often we have raised this matter, we have not been successful in getting answers? Will the Taoiseach give an assurance to the House that the gloves will come off in relation to this matter? Will he say bluntly to the British Government that our patience in relation to this matter has run out and that we require its co-operation in clearing up this injustice?
Will the Taoiseach consider, even at this late stage, extending the terms of reference of this inquiry to include the Sackville Place bombings in which two CIE workers died, one from Fethard in my constituency, Mr. Bradshaw?
In answer to Deputy Deenihan's question I made clear that I cannot be sure as to whether co-operation means information. We have agreement that there will be a meeting. I hope that means we will get co-operation that leads at least to replies to the questions. We have a commitment that a trawl is being carried out but whether that trawl will lead us to the information is another question. I hope it will. We will continue to work with the Justice for the Forgotten group. It has been patient. The British Government knows full well that Mr. Justice Barron and this House are getting frustrated by the wait. We will bring that to their attention again.
I answered a question about the Sackville Place bombings, Carrickmacross and other areas earlier. We want to finish this issue first and then we will look at those other issues.