Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Ceisteanna (211)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

211. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 350 of 11 November 2019, if there has been further progress in achieving a full and comprehensive investigation here and in Northern Ireland into the bombing in Belturbet, County Cavan in December 1972 which caused the death of two young persons and injuries to many others; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53683/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The bombing of Belturbet in December 1972 was an appalling act of violence, which claimed the lives of two innocent victims and injured others. I am very familiar with the facts of this case and I have the utmost sympathy for the families of the young people murdered on that day as well as for those injured in the bombing. Like the many other callous acts of violence committed during the Troubles, the bombing at Belturbet has inflicted untold suffering on the families of those who died and, indeed, all those affected.

The Garda Authorities have informed me that the bombing and the murders were comprehensively investigated by An Garda Síochána at the time. The Defence Forces provided expert assistance and the investigation involved close liaison with the authorities in Northern Ireland. Despite every avenue of enquiry being pursued at the time there was no evidence to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. It remains a source of disappointment and frustration - most particularly to the families involved - that no one has been brought to account for these murders.

As I have previously said, with the passage of 47 years and in the absence of new evidence being forthcoming, I regret that we have to be pragmatic about the prospects for a successful prosecution in this case. Nonetheless, the investigation into the bombing and the two murders has not been closed and An Garda Síochána will pursue any new evidence or information that is made available. They would, of course, work in close co-operation with the PSNI where that could advance the investigation.

I would call on anybody with any information that may be relevant to this case, even at this remove, to bring it to the attention of the Garda Authorities.