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Thursday, August 5, 1999 Published at 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK

Special Report

Inquiry call into 1974 loyalist atrocity

Dublin and Monaghan bombings: 33 died in Troubles' bloodiest day

The Irish Victims Commission has called for an independent inquiry into three loyalist bombings which killed 33 people in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974.

John Wilson: People would not give evidence in open forum
Chairman of the Commission John Wilson made the call in his report into the needs of people from the Republic of Ireland who were bereaved or injured in the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Mr Wilson said that a private inquiry should be headed by a former Supreme Court judge and that the conclusions should later be made public.

Relatives not satisfied

But relatives of the victims have said they want a public inquiry to investigate allegations of British security force collusion with loyalists.

The Search for Peace
Two bombs exploded in Dublin killing 26 people including a pregnant woman. Ninety minutes later another exploded in the border town of Monaghan killing seven people. Over 200 people were injured.

No one was ever charged. In 1993 the Ulster Volunteer Force admitted the attacks, which caused the largest loss of life in a single day during the 30-year Northern Ireland conflict.

The bombings took place while loyalist workers were on strike in Northern Ireland in an attempt to bring down the Sunningdale agreement.

Familes lobbied Commission

The Commission on Victims of Northern Related Violence was established under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Announcing the report on Thursday Mr Wilson said that some witnesses who may be prepared to give their evidence in private, would not give it in an open forum.

[ image: John Wilson: Independent inquiry should be private]
John Wilson: Independent inquiry should be private
He said: "I have come to my conclusion and I am holding to it."

Mr Wilson was met by relatives of the victims who expressed their disappointment.

Tim Grace, whose 34-year-old wife died in Dublin, said: "We welcome an independent inquiry, but why should it be private? Why not a public inquiry?

"Obviously there has been a cover-up over the last 25 years and the concept of a private inquiry invites another cover-up."

Victim's daughter Michelle O'Brien: 33 were killed in cold blood
Don Mullan, campaign advisor for the Justice for the Forgotten committee claimed that the Irish police were involved in a cover-up because of alleged links between them and British military intelligence.

He welcomed progress on an inquiry.

But he said: ''The families of the victims need an inquiry to be held in public. Those families who have suffered for so long, deserve no less."

The report also asked for a private inquiry into the 1976 death of 47-year-old Seamus Ludlow, who was shot dead near his home in the Co Louth border town of Dundalk.

Allegations of a security forces link have also been made in that case.

Other recommendations

The report made 40 recommendations which include:

  • Erecting a memorial to all those killed in the Troubles somewhere near the border with Northern Ireland
  • Introducing procedures to allow families to request reports on Investigations of murder arising from the Northern Ireland conflict
  • Establishing a body to encourage victims to tell their stories in public

The Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, is expected to make an early decision to set up an inquiry.

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