Public Hearings on the Barron Report.

Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh gach éinne anseo inniú. Seo é an ceathrú lá de na héisteachtaí poiblí den Fo-Choiste ar an Tuarascáil ón gCoimisiún Fiosrúcháin Neamhspleách faoi Bhúmáil Bhaile Átha Cliath i 1972 agus 1973. I welcome veryone to the fourth day of our hearings. Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh lucht féachanna TG4 freisin.

Last Thursday the sub-committee heard contributions from Mr. Hugo Boyce, Mr. Seán Boyce and Ms Ann McDermott, members of the families of Mr. Oliver Boyce and Ms Breege Porter who were murdered on 1 January 1973 near Burnfoot, County Donegal. I thank all those who have contributed to our discussions to date. The sub-committee also had a discussion with the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell; the Secretary General of the Department, Mr. Seán Alyward, and the author of the report, Mr. Justice Henry Barron. Today we will meet the then Minister for Justice, Mr. Des O'Malley; former Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Garret FitzGerald, and the former Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Seán Donlon. I thank them for facilitating the sub-committee but, in particular, Mr. O'Malley who has travelled some distance to get here. I am very grateful, as are all members of the sub-committee.

Today, effectively, we are looking at the background to the discussions that took place and the reasons behind the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill 1972 which at the time was going through Dáil Éireann. I am grateful to Mr. O'Malley for coming here today as our first guest. He may wish to relate to us what he can about his experiences during the period. Before we begin, I remind guests that while Members of the Oireachtas have privilege in these matters, our invited guests, even though former Members of the Oireachtas, do not.

Mr. Des O’Malley

I had better bear that in mind. I take it the sub-committee is primarily interested in the events of 1972 which was the worst year of all and the atmosphere was pretty dreadful. According to the report which quotes McKittrick's book, there were 496 killings in Northern Ireland that year and about 14 or 15 in the Republic — over 500 in all. It was a time of great tension, fear and difficulty. If I may give the sub-committee an example relevant to this House, at one stage during the passage of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill 1972 it was estimated there were 7,000 or 8,000 people outside the gates, many of whom were in a fairly violent frame of mind. There were 300 troops here, at the back of Leinster House in the part that was then the Department of Agriculture. I remember being told that they were armed and that there was no question of them firing blanks, that their orders were to shoot to kill, if necessary. That was the only basis on which the Chief-of-Staff would place them there because they had to be armed. They were there because it was considered necessary that they should be.

The feeling in Dublin that year was very much coloured by the events in Merrion Square at the beginning of February — I think it was 1 February — when the British Embassy, or at least the Chancery, was burned down. The feelings of fear and tension continued, particularly from that time.

I was faced at that stage, not by one subversive organisation within the State but three. The other two seem to have been forgotten but at the time they posed a very real threat. They were very active, particularly down here. One was the Official IRA and the other, Saor Éire, a small but very violent organisation which two years earlier had been responsible for the murder of Garda Fallon at Arran Quay in Dublin. There was a special difficulty with Saor Éire which, in fact, came to a head in December. Therefore, my attention was not focused entirely at that stage on just the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill 1972.

It is relevant to say also that at the time there was enormous media opposition to any steps taken against subversive organisations. Of course, there was much political opposition too. The media opposition made matters very difficult because there was a great deal of ambivalence towards violence and subversion. I think perhaps people did not fully understand the significance of some of the things that were happening.

There is a short history in the report of some of the things that happened that year, which was done for the purposes of this inquiry, but is not, by any means, necessarily complete. However, it gives a flavour of some of the very serious problems of that time, which tended to mount up on one another. A significant event was the effect of the way direct rule was introduced in the North, which improved security. The regime in Stormont, although responsible for security, had a hostile attitude towards the authorities in the South, with a marked lack of co-operation, when it should have been obvious that security was an all-island problem and a high degree of co-operation would have been desirable. That would be taken for granted now, but it was not the case at the time. For the period of three years when I was Minister for Justice, I never met my counterparts in the North. As far as I am aware, the then Garda Commissioner never met his counterpart, the Chief Constable. Where co-operation existed it tended to be at quite a low local level — I recall that a number of sergeants on opposite sides used to help each other out — but very little at a more senior level. That may seem strange now, but unfortunately that was the case.

The Bill that was going through the Oireachtas on 1 December, the time of the Dublin bombing was widely reviled at the time. I often amuse myself by considering the Bills that were introduced and passed without any great difficulty that were umpteen times more "repressive" than what was passed in December 1972. Everything I tried to do against subversion at that time tended to be the subject of widespread criticism. Some of my successors have tended to be criticised for "not going far enough", which was the direct opposite of my experience. I say this to give the committee some idea of the atmosphere, which was very different then from what it subsequently became. At that time we had to deal with three subversive organisations, all of which were active. In the course of 1972, I think it was during July, the Official IRA declared it was on ceasefire. While that was the official attitude of the Official IRA, not all of its members followed that decision straight away, but eventually did follow it. It was not easy to watch all the sources of potential violence.

Séan MacStiofáin, who was the well known leader and Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA — although one was not meant to say that at the time — was arrested and charged with membership of the organisation. He never dirtied his hands by taking part in sordid operations such as murdering people but had others to do it. His arrrest received a great deal of publicity and was hotly disputed. There was a tremendous outcry when he went on what was described as a hunger and thirst strike. I see that in his summary, Mr. Justice Barron states that on 28 November — which incidentally was the day before the introduction of the offences against the State Bill — he ended his thirst strike. That is not correct. The truth is that he never began it, but I did not know that at the time. He was not on a thirst strike, which was a bit of a sham to gain sympathy. The degree of sympathy he engendered can be demonstrated by the fact that not one, but two Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin went to visit him. This was the period in the interregnum between the retirement of Dr. John Charles McQuaid and the appointment of his successor, Dr. Ryan. Dr. Ryan went to see Seán MacStiofáin in the Mater Hospital, which was met with a certain degree of public approval at the time. The still incumbent, Dr. McQuaid, decided he had better get in on the act and he went to see him on the following day. They were described at the time as "pastoral visits", but they struck me very forcibly as being entirely inappropriate and they certainly did not make my job or that of the Garda Síochána easier.

I will be glad to answer questions.

I thank Mr. O'Malley for his contribution. I now invite Deputies Joe Costello and Sean Ó Feargháil to contribute.

I thank Mr. O'Malley for attending the committee. We all appreciate his presence here. It is particularly important that the main players from the time appear before the committee. We appreciate the sense of public service Mr. O'Malley has always displayed.

I refer to the preface on page 6, entitled "BOMBINGS IN DUBLIN, 1972/73". Mr. O'Malley has outlined to us the horrendous backdrop in which all this happened from Bloody Sunday in January to the bombings in Dublin at the end of the year. The first conclusion reached by Mr. Justice Barron is that to date, no one has been made amenable for these crimes. In the past week the survivors have come here individually to express their dissatisfaction with the role played by all the organs of the State, including the Taoiseach, the Department of Justice, the Garda and other State agencies. They have referred to the inconclusive nature of the investigations. They felt that nobody called, sympathised or offered them any service. I ask Mr. O'Malley to speak about that side of the equation, the lack of interaction between the State agencies, Garda and the Department of Justice and the survivors and victims' relatives.

Mr. O’Malley

I must acknowledge that perhaps we did not have at the time the degree of concern for victims that would have been appropriate. I believe people nowadays would be more conscious of that. One of the drawbacks of the criminal justice system here is that has always tended to concentrate on the defendants and the State. It is a sort of contest, as it were, between the two. Injured parties are often looked upon by the State as being just witnesses or part of the overall incident. Sufficient concern was not given to them. I believe that has been realised in more recent years. Unfortunately I do not believe it was realised at that time. It is unfortunate that was the case, but I must acknowledge that I am afraid it probably was at the time.

The Garda made every effort to try to discover the perpetrators of these events. However, as the Deputy knows, it had a major Northern dimension. The cars used in the bombings were all either stolen or hired in the North. The degree of co-operation in making those inquiries was pretty limited and it was frustrating for the Garda.

The other matter I noticed on reading the report is that the technological facilities available to the Garda at the time were pretty limited. Garda investigators would be able to discover considerably more now with modern technology than they were able to at the time.

I refer to the section on Keith and Kenneth Littlejohn on page 12 of the report. They had been arrested for the largest bank robbery in the history of the State at the time when £67,000 was stolen from the Allied Irish Bank branch on Grafton Street, Dublin. The second last paragraph states:

Their extradition hearing took place in camera in January 1973. Following assurances by the Irish Government that the brothers would not be tried for political offences, an extradition warrant was granted.

Could Mr. O'Malley throw some light on this matter? Why did the extradition hearing take placein camera? Why were references to political offences ruled out of the trial considering that a major part of the defence that Keith and Kenneth Littlejohn offered was in terms of having been agents of the British Government and working with the British Ministry of Defence?

Mr. O’Malley

The extradition hearing took place in London and it would have been a matter for the British courts as to whether it was heldin camera or not. We had no say in that matter and I do not believe we offered any views about it as far as I know. In order to get a person extradited it was necessary to give an undertaking that no prosecution would take place after the extradition for a number of categories of offences. One of them concerned political offences or politically related offences. Another one related to tax offences. I believe a third one existed, which I forget. Political and revenue were certainly the two main categories.

The country applying for extradition was required to undertake not to prosecute for those categories of offences. These two men were prosecuted for robbing a bank in Grafton Street. It is amusing to see that £67,000 then represented the biggest bank robbery in the island. It would be petty cash to some of today's operators. They were convicted anyway and were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment, which they served.

Extradition was a very difficult issue throughout the 1970s and 1980s. There were very few incidents of extradition either applied for or successfully prosecuted. Can Mr. O'Malley cast any light on this matter? Was there a reluctance to seek extradition for offences allegedly having taken place in Northern Ireland or elsewhere outside the Republic?

Mr. O’Malley

There was no reluctance to apply on the part of the authorities here. In many cases extradition was granted. Apart from these two men, the Littlejohns, I recall that extradition was granted in respect of the man who was charged with the murder of Garda Fallon. That went on over a long period. I believe his name was Keane. One of the difficulties there was that he was alleged to have murdered a garda on duty. He was subject to the death penalty here for that offence. As far as I can recall we needed to give an undertaking to the British authorities that he would not be executed if he was extradited and convicted here. He was extradited and was tried here.

That was very much the exception rather than the rule.

Mr. O’Malley

Not necessarily. Where extradition was most difficult was from here to elsewhere. That was much more difficult. The courts here tended to refuse a very high proportion of the cases where any claim of political involvement was made, and I think the British and Northern authorities got a bit frustrated with that. There were very few cases the other way round, where there was extradition from here. I think there were some but it was a small number.

The last paragraph of page 14 refers to the infamous association between the British agent, John Wyman, and the Garda informant, Patrick Crinnion, who worked with C3, the Garda security section. They were arrested in the context of passing on confidential documents. The last paragraph of page 14 of the report states:

Both Wyman and Crinnion were charged with various offences under the Official Secrets Act, 1963. The trial began at the Special Criminal Court on 1 February 1973. Following a successful application by counsel for the prosecution, it was heldin camera. Following an order by the Minister for Justice, the secret and confidential documents found in Crinnion’s possession were not produced to the Court.

Can Mr. O'Malley, who was then Minister for Justice, enlighten us with regard to his order that no documents would be made available to the court in regard to the trial?

Mr. O’Malley

No, not, I think, that no documents would but that certain documents would not. I cannot recall it exactly but I think I made orders of that kind on one or two occasions in order to prevent people who had given information to the gardaí being identified. I am sure the documents would not have mentioned the name of the people who had given the information but they would have been identifiable to subversives if the documents had been produced in open court.

Probably, one of the consequences of that is that Crinnion and Wyman were not convicted of as it says here, "the more serious charges". They were convicted of much less serious ones. I was probably aware of that at the time. I was probably advised to that effect but, on balance, I had to form the view that it was in the public interest to protect the sources of the gardaí, because any police force is very keen to ensure that sources of information it gets from time to time are not compromised.

Do we know if John Wyman was his correct name or a pseudonym?

Mr. O’Malley

As far as I know, he was, yes. I never heard that he was not, that it was not the correct name. As far as I am aware, he was. It was his name. But whether it was or not, in a sense it did not matter that much. We knew what he was up to.

Would the contents of the documents that have never been disclosed be of benefit to the committee?

Mr. O’Malley

I cannot answer that because I cannot recall what was in them, quite honestly. However, even at this stage, my instinct would be that one should protect the sources on which the documents were founded. I think the Garda would be in a better position to tell you, to answer that question.

I thank Mr. O'Malley for attending to assist us in our task of considering Mr. Justice Barron's second report. I will begin by turning to one of the themes referred to by Deputy Costello. Last Thursday, the Minister, Deputy McDowell, advised us that in the past, as now, neither the Minister nor the Department of Justice would shadow criminal investigations. Will Mr. O'Malley advise the committee of the extent to which he was briefed at the time by the Garda authorities in regard to their ongoing investigations of the eight murders that are the subject of this report?

Mr. O’Malley

Reports would come to the Department about them but reading Mr. Justice Barron's report, he quotes from a lot of documents, for example, that the Minister of the day would not have seen. The Minister would tend to get the final, full report. He would not necessarily get all these day-to-day ones, at all. He would tend to get the report, which I think is described in this book as the investigation report — the final one, the sort of overall assessment of it — but often that one might be a month, two months later, after the event.

One would, however, get telephone calls to the Department telling one about something that had happened, for example. They would come not directly to the Minister or his office but to the security section in the Department, who, if it thought it was sufficiently important, would pass it on to the Minister. So one knew the more important things, obviously, that were happening but one did not have all the background or detail that appears in a lot of these Garda reports.

A number of the investigations appear to have wound up, or at least wound down, very quickly. Was Mr. O'Malley, as Minister, aware of this at the time?

Mr. O’Malley

Probably not. I might have in some of them, yes. A lot of the things that happened along the Border, the gardaí were pretty certain who did them and this seems to bear it out. They were generally carried out by loyalist subversives from the North with one or two exceptions. One of the murders, for example, on the Border was carried out by the Provisional IRA. I noted in regard to one of them, where it was obvious that the Provisional IRA was involved, that the gardaí had three witnesses to identify the people and the three witnesses would not sign statements. They told the gardaí orally who they were but they would not sign statements. This report then quotes the Garda report as saying that the gardaí regarded further pursuit of the matter as futile. Now, if I had seen that I certainly would have told them that I would not have regarded it as futile and that they should continue.

I think that was in the early part of 1972, before the establishment of the Special Criminal Court. That helped. It did not change the atmosphere. As I described earlier, in fact it heightened the atmosphere, if you like, but it made it more feasible for convictions to be obtained in certain types of cases. It would not have had any bearing on this one though because this is one where the witnesses were clearly intimidated. There were other cases before that where juries had been intimidated.

This case was deemed by gardaí to be a futile exercise and the witnesses were not subpoenaed, or asked or forced to give evidence in court, even if they were hostile. Why was this case not followed up in some quarter over the past 30 years, whether by the Garda or some Minister for Justice?

Mr. O’Malley

I do not know. The decision would have been made subsequent to this, not at that exact time, by the Director of Public Prosecutions. If he felt the witnesses were not going to be reliable, he would probably have directed that no prosecution be taken. At this time it would have been the Attorney General because, as far as I can recall, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was established in 1974. It certainly was not in my time.

If a decision was made, would it, or could it have been reviewed subsequently?

Mr. O’Malley

It could not have been reviewed but the sheer volume of such cases probably meant that one did not go back over them. Interestingly, events overtook some cases. One will find, both in this report and from my own experience, that some of those who carried out some of these atrocities — both loyalist and republican subversives — were themselves shot dead within months, or a year or two later. That was the case in several of the instances recorded in the report.

In his earlier remarks Mr. O'Malley alluded to the question of cross-Border co-operation between the Garda Síochána and the RUC. Were there any protocols or formal procedures in place for cross-Border co-operation where there was obviously a Northern dimension to a particular crime? Mr. O'Malley has indicated that where it happened, it tended to be at a lower level, yet in the report there is at least one indication of an effective level of co-operation, up to a point, between the RUC and the Garda. Can he say a few more words on that matter?

Mr. O’Malley

It is interesting. There is one instance where Judge Barron remarks on the fact that in a particular case there was good co-operation. I think the reason he does this is it was, to some extent, the exception to the rule. I do not think there were formal channels whereby somebody in the Commissioner's office in Dublin would ring somebody in a senior position in Belfast and ask for co-operation. More often it would be done on a superintendent to superintendent level. Sometimes it was forthcoming but often it was not, or if it was, it was forthcoming long after the event — perhaps two or three months later — which was not very useful in investigating these matters which really needed instant co-operation.

They did not have the communications. Remember that in the early 1970s in some villages along the Border where atrocities or outrages were happening there was a wind-up telephone. One rang a number like Belturbet 3. To get through to Dublin one had to go through about four post offices. Therefore, ringing the North was not necessarily instant. I do not think there was much radio equipment at the time. The two armies had radios but they were tuned in, not to one another, but to their own communications network. It is easy to be critical when looked at from this vantage point 33 years later but the systems were not very advanced at the time.

Will Mr. O'Malley talk to us about — he raised this in his earlier contribution — the issue of the lack of contact between the victims' families and the Garda Síochána? It was made particularly stark for us last week when the family of the late Paddy Stanley reported that after he had been murdered in Belturbet, it was not the Garda Síochána which came to the house but the local priest to report to the family that their son had been murdered. Most of the families seemed to have a common report that there was no communication between themselves and the Garda Síochána. They were not kept abreast of developments where there were any. I have a sense that may be different from what would have happened in the event of a different type of murder occurring within the State, even if we did not have any sophisticated methods to respond to people's grief and loss.

Mr. O’Malley

What the Deputy quotes the families as saying is probably correct. There was not, as I said, the degree of concern for victims and their relatives that one would now think desirable and which would now be regarded as normal. There is a fundamental difficulty in the criminal procedure of this country and others as well that injured parties — the victims — are often not regarded as central to the whole event. It is different in a civil case where an injured party is the plaintiff and to which he or she is obviously central. The contest, if one likes to put it in those terms, is between the State, or the Crown in Britain, and the defendant. Those who came in between were not given due recognition. In particular, I have to acknowledge that there was no recognition of the level of grief and suffering they had to endure.

What does Mr. O'Malley think the State should do now?

Mr. O’Malley

As far as I know, the State has taken steps to have a much more victim-friendly system where victims or their families are kept informed of what is happening. Also, they are looked after in the courthouse and the courtroom. One of the awful features of these cases at the time was not just that the unfortunate injured parties had to come in and give evidence but that they were often subjected to abuse from the defendants or their supporters. The grief and pain was bad enough without this being added to it. However, like a lot of things that happened or did not happen 30 odd years ago, I hope that is no longer the case.

Thank you, Mr. O'Malley, for your interesting and illuminating contribution which gives us a better knowledge of the context in which all of these events occurred. Would it be possible for you to remain on for some time? I am sure there are other members who may wish to put questions to you when having a chat with Dr. Garret FitzGerald or Mr. Seán Donlon. Would you be prepared to remain here?

Mr. O’Malley

I would, yes.

Thank you very much. I now ask Dr. Garret FitzGerald and Mr. Seán Donlon to take their places as witnesses. Mr. Donlon, your name tag is being prepared.

I thought, as a civil servant, he was anonymous.

I welcome Dr. Garret FitzGerald who I regard as a friend. He is a former Taoiseach and former Minister for Foreign Affairs. Thank you very much for coming. You have always been a model of public service and very helpful to this committee any time we have requested you to attend. In the same spirit, Mr. Donlon has also been very courteous and helpful to us and I also thank Mr. Donlon for coming today.

I will ask Dr. FitzGerald to relate his account of events in whatever way he wishes to help us in framing the context of the time and what happened. Senator Jim Walsh and Deputy Murphy will then have a dialogue with you and ask questions. They may also throw a question at Mr. O'Malley because of the interest that has been generated as a result of the dialogue we have had previously. We will then come to Mr. Donlon.

There are several points I want to make at the outset. Memory is not only fallible but diminishes with time. While there are aspects of these matters of which I have a direct recollection, in other cases I have none at this stage. Moreover, I have always had doubts about the accuracy of memory of events. When I wrote my autobiography I was drawing on documents. Our Civil Service is excellent at documenting events, in my experience certainly — it was the Department of Foreign Affairs I was dealing with. I had documentation from which I could draw, and most of what is in my autobiography derives from documents rather than from memory as I always mistrusted my memory to a degree.

Second, when I was in Government as Minister for Foreign Affairs I was once or twice called to meetings of the security committee. I was not a regular member of it. It was only on a couple of occasions I went to it. Therefore I would not have information that other people who were on that committee would have. I was more limited perhaps than other people. At least I think I was. The security committee, in the nature of things, operates on a confidential basis and does not bring matters to Government except when there is a major political issue involved. Having said that, I will make some comments by way of background because Mr. O'Malley has set a good example here of setting the background and I want to follow that.

First, when these events happened the Opposition was engaged in opposing the Government on the introduction of the Offences Against the State Act. It may seem in retrospect odd that we were so opposed to this measure. I can only say that if one is 16 years in opposition one tends to develop a high sense of the role of opposition in challenging everything. We saw it as our job, and a strong sense of the importance of civil liberties was a factor in my party and in the Opposition parties at that time. We therefore were raising questions about, and indeed were intending at one stage to oppose, this legislation. In retrospect I have to say that, while that may be understandable because it is the role of the Opposition, we carried it a bit far. In retrospect my sympathies are more with Mr. O'Malley perhaps in these matters. As I have always had great respect for his role in protecting the interests of the State, I would not want, in retrospect, to defend all the things that were happening at that time. The then leader of my Party, Mr. Cosgrave had, perhaps, a better instinct than we realised at the time when we were disagreeing with him on these issues. That is the past. I make that as an initial point.

I endorse what Mr. O'Malley has said about the dangers to the State at that time. These dangers have never been greatly appreciated by the public because Governments do not advertise the fact that the State is at risk. As late as 1981 we faced a similar situation, with the Army as a backup to the police in protecting the British Embassy in Ballsbridge. Again the only basis on which the Army could be there was that if attacked and if there was an attempt to disarm its personnel would, if necessary, fire directly on those attacking them, although the rule was that an individual soldier had to be authorised by an officer to shoot and shoot at a particular person attacking him rather than firing wildly.

After the first attempt to attack the embassy we discussed this in Government. We were taken aback. We had not realised just what was involved. Having discussed it we found there was nothing else we could do. We could not withdraw the police from protecting the embassy until the following Saturday, and we could not tell the Army not to defend itself if attacked. What one did do was suggest that the Garda would mass in Serpentine Avenue and take the IRA supporters attacking the police in the rear, which was done. It was extraordinarily fortunate that the police, with great courage, withstood the attack on the first Saturday. The IRA supporters from the North had come down with long staves to hit the ankles of the police beneath the shield, special tactics they had developed, and the gardaí just managed to withstand that attack. If they had not done so and the IRA people had reached the British Embassy and the Army had been called into action it would have been a pretty disastrous situation.

Something similar ensued when the British Embassy in Merrion Square was attacked and the mob then turned its attention to Leinster House. I do not think that the protection the Army had provided for Leinster House would have withstood them. I have always felt the IRA represented a greater danger to this State than to the British state and Northern Ireland. They could blow up buildings in Britain but they could not put the state itself at risk. That is by way of general background.

Coming to particular issues, let me first mention the Littlejohn affair because it has a kind of background relevance to this. In fact it was not all heldin camera. The opening session was held in public to the point where the prosecution asked if the case could be held in camera in order that the director of security, or some name of that kind, could give evidence. This was not published by the BBC. It was not published in British papers. It only appeared in The Irish Times. I found that strange at the time.

I was in opposition in January of 1973 and when I came into Government I asked the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs to let me see the papers on this, which he did. It subsequently transpired, in August, when, I think, the prosecution took place here, a difficulty arose because Mr. Lynch had forgotten that he had seen these papers. When he mentioned this the Attorney General backed him up strongly and during the weekend on radio and television kept saying that Mr. Lynch knew nothing about it. I was very disturbed by this. I was on holidays in Donegal at the time. I felt Mr. Lynch was being put in a very false position, and I had great respect for him as a distinguished former Taoiseach and a man who did a great service to our State. I packed up and came home with my family, went in to the ministry of Foreign Affairs and asked the Secretary to telephone Mr. Lynch and remind him that he had the documents. I left the room while that conversation took place. The Secretary then told me that Mr. Lynch had said that the papers should be sent out immediately to the Attorney General by Army motor cycle. Mr. Lynch then made a statement admitting that he had forgotten and, I thought unfortunately, going on to say that in view of his lapse of memory he might have to consider his position as Taoiseach, which greatly weakened him in the couple of years that followed. I was very unhappy about that.

What actually happened was, curiously, that Mr. Lynch was going to America and he passed the papers to Mr. O'Malley. Mr. O'Malley passed them on to the Attorney General and the Attorney General six weeks later passed them to Foreign Affairs. The Attorney General, who was busy asserting that Mr. Lynch knew nothing about it, was the very person who had the papers and sent them back. Everybody forgot. I myself forgot because at the end of that conversation with the Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs when I asked could I see the papers he said, "Minister, you saw them in May when I gave them to you". I had forgotten that too. I just want to explain the fallibility of memory. Under the pressure of events in Government one does forget things and Mr. Lynch, the Attorney General and myself all forgot on that occasion aspects of the Littlejohn affair.

I had inquired into the Littlejohn affair because it was obvious from what I am calling the director of security that there was some involvement of the British Government in the affair. That is why I wanted it pursued, and it remained very much in my mind. While the Littlejohns claimed they were told to rob banks here, the British said, "Well, no, we did not say that to them, actually." There was, naturally, a divergence of recollection but the whole affair certainly was one that I found worrying at the time and it remained in my mind afterwards.

May I mention the Crinnion affair? I was sent a copy of a statement by Mr. Crinnion, by him I suppose, I cannot say exactly when. It has always remained in my mind because it was in bright blue typing which is an unusual form of typing, it is usually black. Mr. Crinnion, in his statement, who seemed to exonerate himself, said he had, in fact, been the police agent in contact with Mr. Seán MacStiofáin who was giving information to the gardaí at the time. I found that very puzzling but, of course, I have read recently an explanation of that, that MacStiofáin and Joe Cahill were at loggerheads and MacStiofáin was informing the gardaí about what he was asked to do with Cahill. I never understood until the last couple of weeks why that happened so the Crinnion affair was a bit more complex than appears on the surface, but again it involved British involvement in our affairs of an inappropriate kind, which was disturbing.

The third thing I want to mention because it is part of the background to a discussion I, apparently, had with the ambassador is that I do not recall the conversation with the ambassador which is recorded in the British account and which is in the report. I have no direct recollection of it but, of course, when I read it I can see how it would have happened. The reason I mentioned some matters to him was at a certain point in a salient of the Republic, attached to the Republic by 150 yards of a river with no bridge across it, where Monaghan is surrounded by Northern Ireland, the British Army arrived at this house and it was reported to us that they had, in fact, come to the Irish side of the Border and I took the matter up with the ambassador. It was an odd case because the house was divided diagonally by the Border. The front door on the south was in Northern Ireland and the back door on the north was in the Republic. One can forgive the British for being a bit confused about this. They apparently went to the door in Northern Ireland but got no answer. They went around to the other door, banged on it, and then, foolishly, got into their jeep and, instead of going back the way they came, drove on the way they were going and stopped the police and asked them the way home.

I took the matter up with the British ambassador and I had a series of interviews with him, at each of which he came with a different story. First, that they had not gone to the southern side of the house. They had not been there at all, sorry. They were doing roadblocks. They had one torch, hardly ever to do with roadblocks. Then, the second day he came back, he said they did go to the house. They went to the house but they only went to the Northern Ireland side of the house. I said, sorry, could you go back again. The third time he came back and said, well, yes, they did actually knock on the door on the Republic side of the house. I thought it was important to pursue this matter. It was trivial in itself but it meant that I was able to say to him, "You will understand, ambassador, how I will have a difficulty in the future, perhaps, in accepting statements by your army as to what they did or did not do".

I thought it important to get that established to give me a card to play. It appears that I did, in fact, play that card in discussions I had with him later on, about which I have no memory, relating to another matter, but I am trying to explain the background to that. So these are just some background points. I am quite happy to assist but I am afraid I will not be able to add anything to what is in the report here but I am happy to help in any way I can.

Thank you very much, Dr. FitzGerald. The questions will come from Senator Jim Walsh and Deputy Finian McGrath. Senator Walsh please.

I welcome Dr. Garret FitzGerald and thank him for his contribution. In his book and in some of what he said with regard to the attacks on the British Embassy and painting the background of the threat as it was felt to the State, he mentioned that the Widgery tribunal evoked universal cynicism in Nationalist Ireland and that no one in the British Government would admit to the truth of what had happened, even though at the time they were evolving their thinking with regard to British-Irish relations. Would Dr. FitzGerald like to amplify that statement somewhat and, in particular, state whether there were attempts by the Government at the time to get the British Government to be more open and transparent in the manner in which it was approaching these issues? He will agree that much of the antipathy which evolved towards the British at the time was a breeding ground for the IRA. The attitude was most unproductive.

That was my feeling and that of the Government that there was a problem in that the British Government seemed reluctant to exercise a degree of control over the army which we would have thought appropriate, in our own case I hope, and the Ministry of Defence was very protective of the British army. The result was that British policy in Northern Ireland, which was plainly to achieve peace and stability, our own objective also for Northern Ireland, was often, I thought, undermined by the fact that the army took actions and behaved in ways that alienated the minority and increased support for the IRA.

The whole direction of Irish policy, I think, certainly from when we came into Government but, I think, actually, from 1972 when Mr. O'Malley was Minister, in dealing with the British was to try to get across to them how counterproductive was the situation where the army acted in ways that had a very negative effect on opinion in the North and supported the IRA gaining ground. Indeed, when I came into Government the second time and initiated the forum and the negotiations with the British, the purpose of that was to effect a radical change in British policy, to face up to the problems and attitudes and concerns of the minority and to reduce their high security profile that was doing such damage.

When historians come to look at the policies of Irish Governments and all Governments from 1972 to 1985 and later, they will see that consistent strand there. That, of course, led to some tension at times for the British who are naturally sensitive and understand the criticisms of their army. The army in Britain rates very high indeed in public esteem and there is a great reluctance to accept criticisms of it. That, I think, was a great weakness in British policy. There was not a coherent British policy on Northern Ireland. There were different policies pursued by different Ministries, particularly by the Ministry of Defence, so, yes, the thrust of our policy was to question that. From the beginning when we came into Government — I reckon it was Mr. Whitelaw — my concern was to achieve changes in the handling of security by the British Government in Northern Ireland.

A separate issue was the question arising from the Littlejohns case, that is, the Crinnion affair, of inappropriate actions being tolerated or taking place in our State at a time when we were naturally concerned to co-operate as much as possible in dealing with the IRA threat. There were difficulties in Anglo-Irish relations in those years which, over time, diminished and, indeed, over time there was a gradual improvement in the way the army handled things in Northern Ireland and a significant improvement after the Agreement. Of course, under the present British Government it is clear that the army is operating under the direction of the Government. I do not think the tension that may have existed within the British system has persisted. I think that is changed since the present Government came into power. It has been suggested to me by British sources that there has been a significant change in the relationship of the army to Government in Britain.

In the same publication, Dr. FitzGerald is somewhat critical of the initiative taken by Mr. William Whitelaw to engage in dialogue with the Provisional IRA, following a ceasefire. By the same token he also expressed concern with regard to similar initiatives taken by Merlyn Rees around the time of the hunger strike in 1981. What was the relationship between the Governments at the time particularly regarding the efforts made to influence British Government policy?

It was always a concern of our Government and others here as to what the ultimate direction of British policy would be; whether it was possible that in certain circumstances they would consider withdrawal from the North, leaving chaos behind them. This seemed improbable but in politics one can rule nothing out. Mr. Wilson came here when in opposition, allegedly to meet the Government and the Opposition but actually met the IRA behind our backs. I regarded this — I will choose my words with care — as an extraordinary thing to do in another friendly country, to meet a terrorist organisation which was threatening the State. Because he was Leader of the Opposition and likely to become Prime Minister, I do not think any of us in politics took a strong enough line or said what we thought about this. I subsequently regretted this because had we made enough fuss about the behaviour, Mr. Whitelaw might not have attempted to meet the IRA. He did and it was of no help. There was the period after the workers' strike and the Labour Government had come to power. Given its extraordinary bad handling of the workers' strike and its failure to handle it, I suspected that it might consider the possibility of withdrawal. That was a primary concern of our Government in 1974 and 1975. For a long period in 1975 Mr. Merlyn Rees refused to meet me because he did not want to be in a position where I would ask him about these contacts with the IRA.

The view of our Governments has always been that unless and until an organisation like the IRA is willing to bring its violence to an end, one does not talk to terrorists. The British could not understand this view. Our view was that the situation in Northern Ireland might have turned out quite differently if the British had not continued to encourage the IRA by meeting it right through the 1970s up to the contacts made at the time of the hunger strike which sabotaged the efforts made by the commission of peace of the Catholic Church to end the strike. I think after that there were no contacts for a decade or so until it became evident that the IRA was perhaps willing to consider abandoning violence.

There was a deep division between Irish and British policy on this issue. We raised the issue in government but it took a good while to get the message through. In retrospect, we now know that when Mr. Wilson came to power, a suggestion was made that the question of withdrawal be looked at. I had known about this because at a meeting of a contemporary history society in London — the exact name of which I am not certain — where all the participants had been brought together on several occasions to discuss events, it had been mentioned by Mr.Donoghue, now LordDonoghue. He and two others were asked to look at all the possibilities at the time, including withdrawal.

I was right to have suspicions and fears which I communicated to Mr. Kissinger on 8 January 1975. I said that while it was highly improbable that the British would do this, if there was any question of it happening, we would have to ask the American Government to discourage an abandonment of the situation in Northern Ireland as it would lead to chaos and civil war on our island. I said this to him very privately in his car, not at a public meeting.

These were very real concerns of our Government in that period. Throughout those decades, although having a common purpose, Irish and British Governments were not pursuing it by the same means. As a result, there were a lot of difficulties in the relationship but I think eventually our view of how matters should develop did creep through. A later generation of politicians in the 1980s and 1990s saw the force of the value of the view we were expressing and policy changed. This eventually led to the peace process which is not as yet reaching finality but certainly moving in a better direction.

Was there any thinking within the Government that, rather than opposing withdrawal, it should try to shape it in order that it would happen in a controlled way and on a phased basis with international co-operation to ensure the issue of partition which had caused much of the troubles would be resolved?

Certainly not, although I can only speak for my own Government. The announcement of a phased withdrawal would be the recipe for civil war. There could be no phased withdrawal; at that stage the two sides would line up against each other and God knows what the outcome would be. I do not think any responsible Irish Government would have adopted such a policy.

I refer Dr. FitzGerald to page 12 of the report which refers to the Keith and Kenneth Littlejohn incident. It refers to the Bow Street Magistrates Court where the extradition appearance took place. The report states, "The extradition hearing took placein camera in January 1973. Following assurances by the Irish Government that the brothers would not be tried for political offences an extradition warrant was granted”.

Will Dr. FitzGerald develop that statement? Why was that stipulation inserted?

I was not in government at the time but thought it was generally known that extradition could only take place where there was a guarantee that people would not be charged with offences other than those mentioned in the extradition warrant. This is known as the law of specialty and common to extradition generally; certainly, it was the position between Ireland and Britain. One cannot have extradition if one does not guarantee that the person concerned will not be charged with a different offence when extradited. One must promise not to mislead the other government into extraditing a person for the purpose of charging him or her with some other offence. This is a fundamental aspect of the law of extradition.

Mr. O'Malley may perhaps be the relevant person to answer this question. Claims concerning official involvement were made at the Bow Street Magistrates Court hearing. Would this have been for the purpose of concealing any official involvement?

That it was heldin camera?

Yes but it was ineffective because at the public hearing they had to give the reason for holding anin camera hearing which was that the director of security would give evidence. At the time it seemed to me, when I read the report in The Irish Times — it was never published in Britain — that it suggested some involvement. That is precisely why I raised the matter with the secretary for foreign affairs when I came into government.

Does Mr. O'Malley have anything to add?

Mr. O’Malley

I was asked a question on that very point earlier and I dealt with it then. The extradition hearing took place in London. Whatever happened there was certainly not within the control of the Irish authorities.

I will refer to the information on the John Wyman and Patrick Crinnion case where there were at least strong suspicions of covert operations by the British authorities within this State.

For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the Wyman and Crinnion case, I ask the Senator to briefly describe it.

Patrick Crinnion was a garda. John Wyman came here on 18 December 1972 and made some contact with him. The Garda subsequently became aware of this contact and that information was being passed or was about to be passed to John Wyman. He claimed and it was established that he was an agent of the British intelligence service.

Was Dr. FitzGerald aware of such covert operations taking place in this State? What remedial action was taken by Government security forces? Were there any contacts made with the British Government about such activities?

It was over and done with when we came into government. They had been convicted and that was the end of that case. Of course, there were concerns as to whether anything of that kind might happen again. It was an odd case in the sense that our security services and Government had contact with the British security services. In the other part of the inquiry which deals with the 1974 bombings it emerged that there had been direct contact and that information had been given to us by the British security services. Contacts are maintained at an appropriate level and information is exchanged. However, in this case an individual garda, off his own bat, talked to a British agent and gave information outside the framework of the official structure of contacts. That was the problem.

I assume Dr. FitzGerald would regard this as totally inappropriate.

Yes, people cannot go off on their own and do things like that. There is a proper channel for such contacts.

On the more general issue of concerns about British intelligence operating covertly in the State, did they trigger concerns in the Government? Were any initiatives taken? This issue arose shortly before the Government took office. I presume it would have been a matter of some significance to the Government of the day.

It is a matter for our security services to keep an eye on such developments which they obviously did with great success in this case. I presumed they would continue to do so. As I was Minister for Foreign Affairs, it was not my area. It was only on a couple of rare occasions that I took up matters with the British ambassador where there was a particular dimension. It could be argued and for all I know the Department of Justice may have felt that I was out of order in relating to the Clones case in that way which I did in order to give me a better political position to deal with the British in future. In a sense it was not really my job. These are justice matters which are dealt with through Department of Justice channels. There is always a clear distinction. Mr. Donlan will be able to tell the sub-committee about the difference between the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Justice in these matters. Criminal matters go through the justice channel. Our role in the Department of Foreign Affairs was much more limited.

The knowledge of those cases and, in particular, if I recollect correctly, the bombing on the night of 1 December when the Offences Against the State Act was being debated gave rise to speculation in some media circles that there must have been an element of collusion because there was a question as to whether loyalists would have had the knowledge and expertise to carry out such bombings. In the light of this, were efforts made to try to establish if there had been collusion or involvement by forces in the North, be they rogue elements or whatever else?

That was a matter for the Department of Justice and the Garda Síochána. The only thing I did which I had forgotten was to say to the British ambassador — I am referring back to the Clones case — that I hoped nothing of the kind was going on and that it would be a disaster for the British if it transpired that there had been official involvement. I had no evidence for this but it seemed useful to raise the issue with him and sound a warning note, not because I had evidence but because I thought it politically important to have it on the record. I am sure the British were at least aware of our particular concerns if anything of the kind was going on. I do not recall the actual discussion with the ambassador and do not recall having any grounds for it, other than that it seemed politically wise to take up the matter with him in that way and alert him to the fact that this was a matter about which we would be very concerned if there was anything to it.

Was the issue addressed by Government? I am aware the Departments of Defence and Justice would have been directly involved. Would concerns of this nature have been discussed by Government at any stage? Perhaps Mr. O'Malley will also answer this question because the issue overlapped with the change in government.

I do not recall. It may have been discussed at the security committee. It is not usual for Governments to discuss security matters. Even the Department of Foreign Affairs is kept at a certain distance, unless there is a particular reason for it to be involved.

Emphasis was laid on the improving relationship between the British and Irish Governments in modern times.

It has been transformed.

Yes. Dr. FitzGerald will note that on pages 20 and 21 of the Barron report Mr. Justice Barron is critical of the co-operation or lack of it from the British Government. He contacted the British Government on 17 February 2003. On 2 February 2004 the Northern Ireland Office had not yet begun the process of searching for relevant documentation. The report states: "The Inquiry is surprised and disappointed at this lack of co-operation on the part of the British authorities". In the context of Dr. FitzGerald's comments, I presume he regards this as disappointing. From his political experience, does he have any advice to the sub-committee as to how it might read this and on what, if any, recommendations we may consider making — good relations must be conducted in an open and transparent way — which could have a positive input into all the developments taking place with regard to the peace process?

Not really. It is disappointing the British did not respond. They did respond in the case of the other bombings in 1974 by going through a vast amount of documents. They have not done that in this case. Whether there is any significance attaching to this, other than the fact that they are fed up with having to do so much work the previous time, I do not know. It is certainly disappointing that we do not have the information. We can see the scale of what is involved from the tens of thousands of documents they had to go through for the other bombings. Perhaps we should have asked them to do both lots together.

I welcome Dr. FitzGerald to the hearings and thank him for his co-operation in previous hearings. I understand that in some instances it is difficult to go back over events of more than 30 years ago. With regard to the timing and context of the bombings, particularly the question of the Opposition's role in government at the time and Dr. FitzGerald's support of civil liberties, does he regret taking a strong approach on the issue of civil liberties?

In general, no but in retrospect it is clear that at least some of our concerns about the Bill were not warranted. One issue to which we attached great importance was the provision that a superintendent could give evidence that somebody was a member of the IRA and that this could be used in court. Not alone does this not threaten civil liberties, it turned out to be almost totally ineffective. Our worries were perhaps exaggerated.

Mr. O’Malley

That was because the people concerned changed their attitude.

They changed their policy.

Mr. O’Malley

They recognised the courts which they had not done before. They also recognised Leinster House.

In a kind of a way.

Mr. O’Malley

They then went in and swore they were not members of the IRA.

We assumed they would stick to their policy.

There seems to be a contradiction. Dr. FitzGerald has stated it is essential to have respect for civil liberties. Successive Governments asked the British Government to be more respectful of the Northern minority, yet elements in the political establishment here wanted to take a tougher stand. There appears to be a contradiction in telling the British to do one thing, while others in this jurisdiction did another.

I do not see a contradiction. Changes in the law were made here by Parliament to deal with particular cases. One can argue their merits which we did. That is perfectly legitimate but quite different from the way in which members of the British army sometimes behaved in Northern Ireland in harassing and picking up people and all the rest of it outside the law. There is no contradiction.

I have been told that some British documents published this year — I have not seen them — indicate that the British were puzzled by the fact that I was very concerned about the threat of the IRA but was still unhappy with their behaviour in Northern Ireland. They could not understand the contrast. I do not know whether the Deputy is in the same position as the British Government in that regard in not understanding the contrast but there is a difference between taking the legal action necessary to protect the State and allowing abuses to take place. We were concerned with abuses in the case of the British army. The Government and Opposition here were concerned with the law.

To return to the Littlejohns, Dr. FitzGerald stated it was a worrying affair. Will he expand a little on this? Many of us would consider it very serious to have agents from an outside jurisdiction operating in the State.

It would be foolish to imagine there would not be, whatever the Government might say——

It is not acceptable. The Minister, Deputy McDowell, made a similar comment last week in his submission.

The country has a large security service. It would be unrealistic to think it would be a case of "we must not operate in Ireland". That does not happen. We had to assume such things could take place and had evidence that it had taken place in the Crinnion case. Naturally, one would not be surprised at it happening but one would take all possible steps to deal with the situation.

I accept it as a fact of life during——

Just one moment; Mr. O'Malley will make a comment.

Mr. O’Malley

I will supplement by saying how unrealistic it would be to consider the British did not have people operating in Ireland. Around that time, or a year or two earlier, the Government decided to open a Soviet Embassy. The Department of Justice, the Garda Síochána and I were very much opposed to this measure. Dr Hillery said to me that we were living in the real world, that people knew what we said was true but that we would have to put up with it. I said we would be stuck with 40 or 50 gardaí watching the Embassy and the people there. The Americans then introduced a CIA man to watch the Russians. We were perfectly well aware that these countries had people working here. If the Soviets and Americans had people in Ireland, the British certainly had far more interest in what was going on here than either of them.

Was the Government aware that some of them were involved in illegal acts? I understand governments spy on other governments all the time, particularly where there is conflict. However, were Ministers and senior politicians of the time aware that some of the people concerned were involved in illegal acts? That is a very serious consideration.

No other case came to notice, of which I am aware, except that pertaining to Wyman and Crinnion.

What about the bombs in 1972?

The Deputy is jumping between points.

I am making the point that a lot of people suspect.

We tend to suspect the British of all kinds of things; sometimes we are right, often we are wrong. However, having read the report, it is clear there is no evidence for this, although one could not say it was not the case. There are such areas where one never really knows what is the truth.

From his reaction now and reading the first and second Barron reports, what is Dr. FitzGerald's considered view, given his experience in politics, on the question of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and British security forces? Does he accept this as part of the reality of the conflict over 30 years or is it something that has been made up?

In my judgment of the reports, it cannot be excluded but there is no concrete evidence.

There has been evidence in the Six Counties of collusion and proven——

Yes, I know that. The question was related to this jurisdiction.

What is Dr. FitzGerald's belief? Does he believe it happened?

I just do not know. I am struck by the fact that evidence has not emerged but that is not conclusive.

In response to our sub-committee Dr FitzGerald mentioned the record of a discussion he had with Ambassador Galsworthy. He raised the fact that the British Government had given misleading information to him. From his experience as Taoiseach and a former Minister, with hindsight, did Dr. FitzGerald receive misleading information on a regular basis from the British authorities during the Troubles?

Only in one other case. Sorry, my mind is blank now that I have been asked a question. The British allegedly had contact with Sinn Féin in early 1975. The ambassador came and gave us certain information about this. He then had to come back the next week and modify it. He came back a week later to modify it again. We were not happy on that occasion that we were being told the truth. That is the only other occasion I know of where we had reason to believe we were being misled.

Are the details in Dr. FitzGerald's book?

Yes. Governments will generally try not to mislead other governments because trust is important. Those are the only two cases I know of where we had reason to be unhappy with the information we were getting. That is not to say there were not other cases but they are the only ones of which I am aware.

I thank the ex-Taoiseach. In America a President is always a President.

We do not have that on these islands. One keeps one's title on the continent of America. We are more democratic in Ireland and Britain.

I thank Dr. FitzGerald for coming today. I would appreciate if he and Mr. O'Malley could remain. Mr. Seán Donlon has kindly agreed to come to the sub-committee. We have invited him because of his wide experience in Northern Ireland matters and the Department of Foreign Affairs around that time. He was very helpful to us when we were considering the report on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings when he gave us much background information. Notwithstanding this, the membership of the sub-committee is not the same. The sub-committee reports to the joint committee but its membership is different. Therefore, not everybody is fully aware of what Mr. Donlan said at the time. We would appreciate if he could give us a briefing to help us put the whole affair in context.

Mr. Seán Donlon

I have no specific information to throw additional light on the events covered in the second Barron report. I will concentrate on making three general points which I hope will be relevant to the sub-committee's deliberations. The first relates to the general Anglo-Irish political backdrop in the early 1970s. The second relates to the general level of violence prevailing at the time in Northern Ireland and along the Border, while the third relates to the unhappy situation involving the non-co-operation of the British in the release of official papers.

I can be brief on the first point. The Anglo-Irish political climate in the early 1970s was generally poor and varied from cool to frosty most of the time. Internment without trial was introduced in Northern Ireland in August 1971 and began a particularly cool period. The events of Bloody Sunday occurred in January 1972 and the Government withdrew its ambassador from London, the first and only time such action was taken. The ambassador went back in April 1972 following the prorogation of Stormont and the introduction of direct rule.

There was a slight thaw in Anglo-Irish relations during the first year of direct rule, from approximately March 1972 to March 1973. However, as has been pointed out, the two Governments were still singing from different and at times conflicting hymn sheets. For example, the British tried to do a deal with the IRA and a short-lived ceasefire collapsed in the summer of 1972. Internment continued and was initially entirely one-sided, confined to Nationalists. On our side, we continued to pursue the Strasbourg human rights case and actively pursued episodes involving incidents on or near the Border involving, in particular, incursions by members of the British army and occasionally the RUC.

From March 1973 British policy moved mainly in the right direction, namely, that which the Government and the SDLP were seeking. This culminated in the Sunningdale Agreement in December 1973 but with the collapse of the Sunningdale arrangements and the change from Heath to Wilson in the spring of 1974 the climate again moved from cool back to quite frosty at times. It was not an easy relationship; nothing compared to what it has been for the past 15 years.

The second general point relates to the level of violence involved. As Mr. O'Malley pointed out, almost 500 people were killed in Northern Ireland in 1972 — the year of the bombings in Dublin, Belturbet, Clones and Pettigo. Of that number, 279 were killed by the Provisional IRA and 121 were killed by Loyalists. In this jurisdiction and sadly even in Mr. Justice Barron's report and these deliberations it is forgotten that Garda Inspector Sam Donegan was killed by a bomb on the Border between Cavan and Fermanagh in June 1972. Mr. O'Malley attended the funeral. That murder was denied by the provisionals at the time. It is important to point out, in the context of the murder of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, that it is now generally accepted that Sam Donegan's murder was a Provisional IRA job and probably the first Provisional IRA murder of a member of the Garda Síochána during the Troubles. Nobody has as yet been convicted of Garda Inspector Sam Donegan's murder.

During the weekend I reviewed the details of the 500 people killed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in 1972. I estimate — this is no consolation to the relatives of the victims about whom the committee is speaking — that no conviction was obtained in approximately 82% of those cases. That is a high rate of failure on the part of all those involved in dealing with these matters.

The third point relates to the failure of the British and Northern Ireland authorities to make relevant documentation available. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is quoted as saying: "We have not yet been able to begin a further major and time consuming search." This, in my view, is not credible. They have already gone through the papers and have sifted and screened them in preparation for the release of official documents. In fact, the documents relating to 1973 and 1974 have been released. The sifting and screening for the years 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974 has already been done. While many security related files remain, it should not be as difficult a task as is being suggested. I offer the following as a suggestion although it may not work.

Why not confine the request to what we think are the relevant papers? I suggest there are two sets of papers we might ask the British to consider releasing. One set relates to what I call the Laneside papers. Dr. FitzGerald will recall that Laneside was, and is to this day although I emphasise it is now in private hands and has no connection with the British Government, an unmarked house in a leafy upmarket suburb between Belfast and Bangor. It was, from 1969 onwards, the residence and workplace of a very senior British official of uncertain background. His activities included contacts, now documented although denied at the time, with all paramilitaries, republicans and loyalists. I can personally vouch for that.

On one occasion in 1972 when visiting the resident, I saw members of the Provisional IRA leave by another door. My arrival was unexpected — I knew the man well enough to drop in on him if I was in the area. I am not sure who was more embarrassed, him or the IRA, because this was at a time when they were denying point blank that they had any contact with the Provisional IRA. If that was, and I believe it was, a point of contact between a very senior British official and members of paramilitary organisations, I suggest those contacts were documented. It would therefore be worth pressing for a specific trawl of what I call the Laneside papers. It should not be an embarrassing situation for the British because in a recent BBC programme, which some of the members may have seen, the last occupant of Laneside, Mr. James Allen, who is now retired and aged well into his 70s, to my surprise appeared to discuss the 1974 papers. We are not, therefore, the first to breach the wall.

The second set of papers which may be relevant but which might, I suspect, be more difficult to access are those relating to the Joint Intelligence Committee, which was chaired by a senior Downing Street official. The committee operated from Downing Street and included all the relevant security agencies. It was chaired by either the Cabinet secretary or by one of his immediate deputies and, therefore, in my view, it is very relevant to all British security operations worldwide. Given the nature of the committee's work, it is likely they will not be particularly forthcoming. However, it might be useful to focus the request on those two sets of papers. I am happy to answer any questions which members may have.

Thank you, Mr. Donlon, for your interesting contribution. The committee was and is disappointed with the response of the British Government to Mr. Justice Barron's inquiry and to our requests for information. Mr. Donlon has opened up another avenue which the committee will certainly explore. Deputy Murphy, vice-chairperson of the committee, and Deputy Hoctor, Government convenor, will ask questions of Mr. Donlon.

I thank Mr. Donlon for his straightforward contribution which has at last identified a set of papers or files that might be useful to the committee. However, the chances of obtaining the papers may not be good. Earlier this week the Taoiseach distributed to members of the committee a letter from the British Prime Minister. The final paragraph of the letter appears to indicate that the British are again hiding behind the suggestion that there is so much material to go through that it would be impossible to re-initiate a search for the type of material required by the committee. However, that excuse may no longer be relevant given that Mr. Donlon has identified two sets of papers which may be pertinent to the investigation. It might be possible to make a more direct approach and the excuse that it would necessitate going through years of files might not be relevant. However, in Mr. Donlon's opinion, what is the likelihood of the committee succeeding in obtaining the two sets of papers mentioned?

Mr. Donlon

It is difficult to answer that question directly. If the British decide they have something to hide, we will not get access to the papers. I do not believe the task is a superhuman one. The papers have been sifted in the context of the 30 year release clause. The papers relating to 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974 have been released. I am aware people in the visitors gallery have accessed them. They are available on the Internet as released. A great deal of what would be considered to be sensitive material has already been released. If the papers requested by the committee are not released, then we must draw certain conclusions.

Having listened to the victims' relatives it appears the report is ambiguous and brings no conclusion to their 32 years of suffering. In that context, the two issues with which we must deal first are that of the files that had not been available from the British Government and, on the other hand, the continuing insinuation that the Garda investigations in this jurisdiction were not as intense as they might have been. One of the reasons given for this would have been that, because of the strength of the IRA at the time, Governments or people in authority did not want to rock the boat. We discussed the matter with the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. All of the files in the Department Justice, Equality and Law Reform will be made available. Is there any way we can advance this side of the matter or was there a similar attitude on the English side, that the Irish were not doing the job of investigation as well as they should have been?

Mr. Donlon

The Garda Síochána did its best at the time. I can imagine, for example, that in the investigation of the case of Garda Inspector Sam Donegan it did not leave any stone unturned but it never succeeded in bringing anyone to justice. That is no consolation to the relatives of people killed in Dublin, Belturbet and elsewhere. As Mr. O'Malley pointed out, the technical facilities available to the Garda at the time would have been primitive by comparison with what is now available.

I have nothing to add to what Mr. O'Malley said about co-operation between the Garda and the RUC. It was, it is fair to say, very patchy. In answer to an earlier question, there were no written protocols of which I am aware until the Baldonnel meeting of September 1974, involving Mr. Cooney and Merlyn Rees, when there were panels created, including a panel to deal with explosives and a panel to deal with intelligence, etc. That marked the beginning of the era of formalised co-operation between the Garda and the RUC. Up to then, as Mr. O'Malley said, it was haphazard.

I appreciate it was an extremely difficult time for Mr. O'Malley and the incoming Government. Considering the technical support available to the Garda at the time, perhaps there is justification for saying that, looking at the techniques available today, more could have been done in the Garda investigations. That said, the Garda investigations and the missing files from the British Government are the two key elements in reaching a satisfactory conclusion for the victims represented by Justice for the Forgotten. In the event of this being unsatisfactory, perhaps the three gentlemen will comment on suggestions on the way forward. Some have been made such as a commission for truth or a special facility whereby the victims could consult with the Garda authorities to satisfy themselves that everything possible was done at the time. Would the three gentlemen have any other suggestions as to how we can advance the issue?

Mr. Donlon

Whatever is to be done — I made this point at the hearing on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings — has to involve a full commitment by both Governments. One Government acting on its own cannot do much. Given the new and, happily, constructive climate in Anglo-Irish relations, as I stated on the last occasion, one further effort in the Anglo-Irish context might create a form of body — whether a truth commission or an intergovernmental conference — in a joint effort by both Governments, perhaps chaired or driven by an outside figure, another Senator Mitchell or General John de Chastelain type. Anything set up would have to have the full commitment of both Governments if it was to have any prospect of success. My only suggestion would be that this should be tried. I would not raise people's expectations too highly but it might at least satisfy all concerned that a final effort had been made.

Would Mr. O'Malley or Dr. FitzGerald like to comment?

It is a good suggestion but one would need to know what the terms of reference would be. The number of issues that could be raised would be enormous. Given the number of years it takes to deal with one module of one of the inquiries, what terms of reference would there be for such a body?

I do not think we are ready for a truth commission. The IRA is still in denial, to the point of saying any crime it commits is not a crime because it commits it. Having a truth commission would be a waste of time. The other crowd, the loyalists, are not much different. South Africa was a totally different case. I would be very sceptical about a truth commission in our case. We are simply not ready for it, if we ever will be.

I agree with the idea of a joint approach but the terms of reference would have to be such that they focused on certain issues. Otherwise it would go on for centuries. If there was to be a focus, who would choose what it should focus on? It is worth looking at this but not at a truth commission which would not get us anywhere.

Mr. O’Malley

I am glad Mr. Donlon mentioned the murder of Inspector Samuel Donegan. I thought he was murdered in 1971 and was trying to stick to 1972. Mr. Donlon stated it was 1972. It is important to mention it, particularly in the context of the relatives of victims who feel not enough was done. The Garda would certainly go to great lengths to get a conviction in respect of the murder of one of its members. I remember going to see Mrs. Donegan on the day it happened in Cavan. I attended the funeral afterwards. The bomb that killed him was placed right on the Border. It was an optional one, as to whether it would kill a member of the Garda or the Irish Army or an RUC man or a member of the British Army, depending on who would try to move or dismantle it. At the time the Garda was 99% certain that the Provisional IRA was responsible.

The other murder of a garda, at a slightly earlier time, was one to which I did refer, that of Garda Fallon. If it is any consolation to people who are annoyed there have not been convictions, there was ultimately no conviction for the murder of Garda Fallon, even though a number of people saw a particular person shooting. Of course, it occurred prior to the establishment of the Special Criminal Court in 1972. The murder took place in April 1970. It was not from the want of trying that convictions did not take place. It was not mentioned, but it must be remembered in the context of co-operation with the RUC, that at the time, the B Specials had only been disbanded. I cannot remember the exact date, but perhaps Mr. Donlon does.

Mr. Donlon

It was 1971.

Mr. O’Malley

The B Special atmosphere and attitude was very prevalent at the time and it very much infected the RUC. Young people may not have heard very much about the B Specials, which acted as a reserve for the RUC, but were a nakedly sectarian division of the police force. I am sure information came to them, which was certainly not made available, and it is very possible that much information — as is always the case, and which is forgotten by people such as Dr. FitzGerald who rely entirely on written record — never got on to official paper. If one is reading only Irish Civil Service records, one may get a slightly one sided view of life.

It is very accurate as far as it goes.

Mr. O’Malley

Yes, as far as it goes, but it leaves out a great deal. When one was dealing with a police force that was actively aided and assisted by the B Specials, one would not be confident. I am afraid that was the way it worked out.

Another matter, which I think is relevant to that and in the context of what the sub-committe might try to do today, is that the RUC, as such, was ended and not just transformed into the PSNI and much of its records are gone, and in particular much of the knowledge of its staff has gone with them. The PSNI is a relatively new police force and many of the people in it today would not know what went on in the early 1970s and, with the best will in the world, would not be of great assistance.

I take it that the PSNI is not responsible for the sins of the father.

Mr. O’Malley

I am sure the PSNI will tell you it is not responsible, but in fairness, it was probably the fathers, when one remembers that we are talking about events approximately 33 or 34 years ago.

I join my colleagues in welcoming Mr. O'Malley, Dr. FitzGerald and Mr. Donlon. I will address my questions to Mr. Donlon who appeared before the committee when we were discussing the first Barron report and made a very valuable contribution. His contribution today is equally valuable.

I understand that Mr. Donlon spent 27 years in the Department of Foreign Affairs and at this time, in the early 1970s, his main task was to gather information on the behaviour of the security forces in Northern Ireland and that this information formed the basis of the Strasbourg case, where Ireland sued Britain for breaches under the European Convention of Human Rights. It was a painstaking undertaking to gather evidence and information to make that case, which was successful. Will Mr. Donlon elaborate on the nature of his work and how he gathered that evidence to make such a strong case in Strasbourg?

Mr. Donlon

I had been based abroad but on 10 August 1971 I was brought back on a temporary basis and asked to go to Northern Ireland and collect information relating to how internment, which had been introduced on the 9 August 1971, had been handled. My main contacts initially were through people such as Mr. John Hume, Mr. Paddy Devlin, Mr. Austin Curry who in turn introduced me to solicitors and to members of community organisations, such as the two groups in west Belfast, the Association for Legal Justice and the Catholic Central Defence Committee, the CCDC, which had taken statements from people who had been lifted and interned and also from people who were still interned and had been subjected to particularly horrendous torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.

With the co-operation of solicitors in Northern Ireland, either myself or one of the barristers working with me got into places such as Crumlin Road Gaol and took statements and then these statements were backed up frequently by doctors' reports or reports of independent witnesses, who had seen them shortly after they had been beaten-up. The information came from a variety of sources, mainly solicitors, barristers, doctors, community leaders, to whom I had been introduced by Nationalist politicians.

When Mr. Donlon was working in the North, was he treated with suspicion or did he beaver his way to establish good relationships with people?

Mr. Donlon

It varied according to the climate in Anglo-Irish relations. I recall on at least one occasion Dr. FitzGerald was asked to ensure that I did not go to Northern Ireland again as my safety could not be guaranteed. It was not, in fact, that difficult. It was not difficult for a person from the South to move around Northern Ireland as there are many connections. In fact, there were barristers with me, namely the late Mr. Aidan Browne, Mr. John Murray, who is now in the Supreme Court, who were junior barristers and it was possible for them and for me to move around quite easily. One could easily bump into Dr. FitzGerald on the streets of Belfast when he was in Opposition. It was no more dangerous for people from the South than it was for people living in Northern Ireland, at least we were able to escape at the weekends.

It should be added that our pursuit of the Strasbourg case was not helpful to the Anglo-Irish relationship and was deeply resented by most British politicians, but we felt we had an absolute duty to go ahead with it, regardless of the consequences. I remember being taken aback when one junior minister was quite objective about it and did not express any hostility to me. We were not going to abandon that case, regardless of what pressure was put on us and a price was paid for it in terms of Anglo-Irish relations in those years. It is important to emphasise that because there has been some suggestion that at times we were soft on the British and were not anxious to press matters with them. Nothing could be further from the truth as is evident from the way the Strasbourg case was handled.

With regard to the Strasbourg case, was Britain put in a position where it would have to provide additional information, which it would not have been prepared to do at that point?

Mr. Donlon

Yes, initially there were written procedures and we submitted a case that was so extensive that it took three sacks to transport it. The British had to respond to it in writing and I think there was at least one more round of exchanges in written procedures. Then we had to produce our witnesses in the Strasbourg case and subsequently, but with great difficulty, the British were required to produce its witnesses, who were mainly unidentified members of the security forces. That was surrounded by a bit of pantomime because Britain would not bring them to Strasbourg. We ended up holding that particular part of the hearings outside Stavanger in Norway in a disused Norwegian military base in the middle of nowhere. In spite of this, they still insisted in producing their witnesses behind screens and referred to them by number only, which made it very difficult. However, we had the procedures of the European Commission of Human Rights and European Court of Human Rights on which to rely. In a sense the British were under an international obligation to co-operate. However, the co-operation was given very slowly and painfully. It was like drawing hens' teeth.

Could Mr. Donlon briefly explain the Strasbourg case to those who may not know it?

Mr. Donlon

There is a procedure under the European Convention on Human Rights. First, there is a commission and then a court in Strasbourg, which looks at both individual complaints and intergovernmental complaints. Mostly it deals with complaints by individuals who, having exhausted their domestic remedies, go to Strasbourg. However, one government can take another government to court. While that has happened very rarely, I believe it happened in the case of Greece under the colonels. Somebody brought the Greeks to court. I believe the biggest interstate case was the one of Irelandv. Britain, which ran from September or October 1971 and was not finally settled until approximately 1976 or 1977.

What was the kernel of the case? Over what matter did Ireland take Britain to court?

Mr. Donlon

The British Government was found guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment of named individuals. It was not found guilty at the higher of the two tribunals of torture. The commission found it guilty of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. However, the court dropped the finding on torture and confined its finding to inhuman and degrading treatment. The court also accepted that these things had happened not as isolated incidents, but as a result of an authorised administrative practice.

Where did those incidents take place?

Mr. Donlon

They happened at various locations in August and September 1971 and specifically in places like Palace Barracks in Holywood and in one or two other places, all in Northern Ireland.

When the commission finishes its work, the plaintiff has a choice of going to the committee of ministers or the court. It must be one or the other unless a friendly settlement is reached. No friendly settlement emerged on the British side and we chose to go to the court. The propaganda effort in the British press against us implied that we deliberately went to the court. However, we had no choice; we had to go to one or the other. It was not that we were acting in any peculiar way. We thought it better to go to the court and get an objective view rather than to the committee of ministers where politics can come into play and the arms of other governments could be twisted. We chose the right course. However, the British were absolutely furious about this and they fed stuff to the newspapers about us, which was totally inaccurate. It was a difficult and unpleasant time.

What have we to learn from the Strasbourg experience in which Mr. Donlon was particularly involved? Even though witnesses in Norway were kept behind screens, enough information was gathered to take a case against Britain. What can be learned by the committee, which is still trying to address this difficulty after more than 30 years?

Mr. Donlon

The main lesson to be learned is that if a case is professionally presented and pursued vigorously, the instruments available under the European Convention on Human Rights work. They have worked both for individuals and in this interstate case. The effort is not to be underestimated. I no longer remember how many barristers were involved. It certainly involved Tom Finlay, Declan Costello, Tony Hederman, Colm Condon, the late Aidan Browne and John Murray. It was a huge team. It involved an extraordinary commitment on the part of both Governments. It was initiated under the Fianna Fáil Government in 1971, involving the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Paddy Hillery, and Attorney General, Colm Condon, and continued under the subsequent Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Garret FitzGerald, and Attorney General, Declan Costello. It took an enormous effort in terms of personnel, resources and political commitment.

As Dr. FitzGerald pointed out, a high price was paid at times. It was undoubtedly a huge issue in Anglo-Irish relations. The British even attempted to get other countries to persuade us to drop it. It must be remembered that part of the relevant backdrop here was that both Britain and Ireland were in the final stages of negotiation for Common Market membership. It really was quite a disruptive feature in the whole European scene at the time.

I return to the "Laneside" papers, which Mr. Conlon mentioned. Mr. Conlon said he was a regular visitor to that house and might have met people coming out as he entered. What was the nature of his conversation afterwards? Was it merely a social event or was it business and pleasure mixed?

Mr. Donlon

My favourite definition of diplomacy is that "diplomacy is the art of knowing what to say and not saying it". My relationship with the occupant of that house was always a friendly one. We were sparring partners in the sense that he was trying to figure out what I was up to and I was trying to figure out what he was up to. It is not an unusual experience in diplomacy to have good a relationship with one's interlocutor, but both are working from completely different hymn sheets. I would not have even referred to having seen certain people with green jackets going out the back door as I was going in the front door. That is not the sort of thing one does. However, he knew that I knew. The relationship was an easy one.

I cannot remember when I first met him. It was probably in the run up to Sunningdale, when we were working very closely with British officials. One gets to know somebody very quickly in such a situation because one is with them day and night at times. Afterwards in 1973 and 1974, I would drop in if I happened to be in the area. He would sometimes track me to where I was staying in Belfast or in other parts of Northern Ireland. It was an easy relationship, but that did not necessarily mean we discussed everything.

On certain occasions one does not raise matters. In the 27 communications between the Irish and British Governments about the hunger strike between the time I came into Government on 30 June and August 1981, I was aware from some date about 10 July of the British direct contact with the IRA, which disrupted the work being done and led to the hunger strike continuing. I had to decide whether I should raise the matter with the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. I decided not to raise the matter in all those communications. If I raised the matter with her, she would then possibly have been able to deny that it took place in which case, real communication afterwards would have been difficult.

In 1974 John Hume was very anxious for us to ask the British if they were going to withdraw. I refused because if we asked the British to promise not to withdraw, we would have been in a sense telling them that we expected them to withdraw. Therefore, we were careful not to raise the question. Some diplomacy consists of prudently not raising or asking questions.

Did Mr. Donlon have a counterpart? Had the British Government appointed somebody to work in the Republic to gather information in the same way as he had been appointed to do in Northern Ireland?

Mr. Donlon

The British had an embassy in Dublin and had accredited diplomats with all the privileges and immunity that gives. As we know now from other cases, they may have had intelligence agents operating. As both Mr. O'Malley and Dr. FitzGerald have indicated, it would have been surprising if they had not. However, I think most of their intelligence gathering came through their official representative in the embassy.

To continue Deputy Hoctor's point on the successful action in Strasbourg, the letter the Taoiseach has just received from the British Prime Minister states categorically that Mr. Blair believes no further benefit to the public interest would accrue from the establishment of an inquiry in the United Kingdom to examine allegations related to the 1974 bombing. This committee has already stated that given the failure to set up a Weston Park-type inquiry, we would recommend that the Government takes action under the European Convention on Human Rights. When this is combined with the failure by the British authorities to provide any documentation to the Barron inquiry, what is Mr. Donlon's opinion in regard to a case being mounted? In addition, last year we signed the European Convention on Human Rights and would seem to be on a better footing to mount a case now than in 1971.

Mr. Donlon

I think the main problem would be the collection of information at the interval of 30 years plus. So many of the potential witnesses are probably not alive any longer. Evidence generally, I would think, would be very difficult to put together and the procedures in Strasbourg are such as to rely very heavily on standards of proof. I think it would be very difficult to use that particular procedure. That is why I thought something short of that, involving both Governments and perhaps an outside person, but with the difficulties of drawing up terms of reference that would ensure the work would be done in a year or two, not in eight or ten years.

We have seen what has happened in relation to Bloody Sunday, even with the co-operation at this stage of the relevant people in the British system. That has been running for seven or eight years now and has cost over, I think, £130 or £140 million sterling, but we have not yet got a report. I think a report is promised for next year. That shows how difficult these things are even in circumstances where co-operation is forthcoming. The first obstacle to any continued activity on this front is to get the British to co-operate. Sadly, so far, we have seen very little evidence of that.

With regard to the shadowy area concerning Garda Crinnion and the British agent Wyman, did I hear Dr. Fitzgerald correctly when he seemed to suggest Garda Crinnion was getting information from the chief of staff of the IRA, Seán MacStiofáin, and passing it on to the British agent as well as to the Garda?

I do not know what he passed on but in the document he produced and circulated around the time — somebody sent me a copy and it is somewhere in my papers in UCD — he claimed that he was a Garda agent in touch with MacStiofáin, who was providing information. I found that a little hard to believe — why a chief of staff of the IRA would be informing — although that accusation was made against Stephen Hayes in 1942 when he was taken out to Glencree and kept there and then at a house in Rathmines he escaped from, but it has been suggested recently——

Joe Cahill made the suggestion.

Cahill and MacStiofáin were at odds with each other and MacStiofáin was trying to damage Cahill. It is a very murky area but the Crinnion document I found interesting at the time. I do not remember anything more about it at this stage. Somebody else must have copies of it, I suppose.

Mr. Donlon stated he saw senior republicans coming out of the mysterious Laneside House. Did he ever witness loyalists or senior members of the RUC or British army coming out of that house?

Mr. Donlon

Not personally, but I am certain that it was the point of contact for the UVF and the UDA. The relevant British official I think would not have had much contact with the RUC. He probably had very regular contact with British army people, particularly British army intelligence. At that particular time the British had as little confidence in the RUC almost as we did and they would not have regarded them as a reliable source.

Mr. Donlon referred to an important suggestion regarding the release of the papers that would be relevant to our inquiry, that could demonstrate innocence or guilt if the relevant persons did not co-operate. If evidence exists that there was collusion in regard to the 1972 bombings, does Mr. Donlon expect it will be left in a file in Laneside House?

Mr. Donlon

No, I do not think it would be as blunt as that. I think what might be indicated is a pattern of communication between the British and the UVF and the UDA. That is the point I would make. Then one could draw one's own conclusions from that. One certainly would not get anything as specific. As Mr. O'Malley explained in relation to the Department of Justice, they do not put everything on paper.

Does anyone wish to make concluding remarks on this matter?

Mr. O’Malley

There is one of a personal nature I would like to make. I described an atmosphere of fear and apprehension and so on. For five and a half years two members of the Garda Síochána looked after me from that point of view — a lot of others did too, but two in particular because they used to come round with me everywhere in Munster, although not in Dublin where they were off duty. They, sadly, were Jerry McCabe and Ben O'Sullivan, who operated together always, one of whom died and the other very nearly did. I saw their commitment and the commitment of people like them. What greater commitment could they have given what they suffered?

Gardaí made every effort to come to grips with the dangers of subversion in this country and a number of them paid a very, very high price for it. The fact that they were not successful, unfortunately, in getting convictions is a matter of regret but it should not be thought by relatives of victims that it was for the want of trying.

Thank you. On that sad and heroic comment, we will adjourn until Thursday, 3 February at 9.30 a.m. when the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces and the Garda Commissioner, among other invitees, will hold discussions with the sub-committee.

The sub-committee adjourned at noon until 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, 3 February 2005.