17 May last marked the 45th anniversary of the appalling attacks of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in which 33 people were murdered. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan TD, represented the Government at the remembrance ceremony in Dublin.
The Government stands in solidarity with all those who lost loved ones or were injured on that day, and who suffer still as a result of these bombings.
The implementation of the All-Party Dáil motions relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings is a priority for the Government, as highlighted in the Programme for a Partnership Government.
The All-Party motion on the 1974 Dublin Monaghan bombings adopted by the Dáil on 25 May 2016 has, like those adopted in 2008 and 2011, been conveyed to the British Government.
These motions call on the British Government to allow access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, as well as the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk and the murder of Seamus Ludlow.
The Government is committed to actively pursuing the implementation of these all-Party Dáil motions. We have consistently raised the issue with the British Government on a bilateral basis, including at the British-Irish Inter-Governmental Conference, most recently on 8 May 2019.
I and Minister Flanagan have made clear to our counterparts that the absence of a response from the British Government is of deep concern to the Government, and that there remains an urgent need for a response.
The Government will continue to engage with the British Government on this request, at senior political level and in official level engagement by my Department, to pursue all possible avenues to achieve progress on this issue, consistent with the request made by this House and until a resolution is found.
The Government maintains a close and cooperative relationship with Justice for the Forgotten, as we continue work to seek the full facts of the appalling events of 17 May 1974 and of other attacks in this jurisdiction during the Troubles.
The Government has noted the announcement by the PSNI on 30 November that former Chief Constable Jon Boutcher will head an Independent Police Team to conduct an analytical report on the Glenanne Gang series of cases. This is welcome.
The Government is conscious that this work by Chief Constable Boutcher is very relevant to a number of cases of the utmost concern for victims’ families and survivors, both North and South, who suffered in the murderous attacks by the so-called Glenanne Gang. This includes the Hillcrest Bar bombing, and the Miami Showband attack, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk and also, of course, the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
It is to be hoped that the report being conducted by Chief Constable Boutcher will contribute to the long process of justice, truth and acknowledgement of what happened in these awful cases, where collusion is a feature.
Chief Constable Boutcher will be conducting a police investigation, and as such will be in a position to seek the cooperation of the Gardaí through the framework of Mutual Legal Assistance, which underpins the excellent cooperation that exists between the Gardaí and the PSNI more broadly.
The Government will be supportive of facilitating this investigation, subject to the requirements of the law, as we have other investigative processes in Northern Ireland, in relation to the attacks conducted by Glenanne Gang and of course other cases from the Troubles.
In any scenario, we will continue to engage with the British Government, to pursue all possible avenues to achieve progress on this issue, consistent with the request made by this House, until a satisfactory resolution is found.