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Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 22:29 GMT
'Delay' in handing bomb files over
Dublin and Monaghan bombings: 33 died in Troubles' bloodiest day
Thirty-three died on the Troubles' bloodiest day
Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid is to meet the Irish judge investigating the 1974 loyalist Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

It follows allegations that the British Government is not being co-operative with the inquiry set up into the attacks in the Irish Republic which killed 33 people and injured hundreds of others on 17 May.

It was biggest loss of life on a single day in the course of the Troubles.

Despite a formal request made by Mr Justice Barron nine months ago, no British security documents have been made available to the independent commission investigating the bombings.

Bertie Ahern:
Bertie Ahern: "Justice Barron says it is critical he receives this information"
Bereaved families and survivors of the attacks were in the Irish Parliament to hear Prime Minister Bertie Ahern say the meeting was going ahead soon in an attempt to speed up Britain's co-operation.

The taoiseach said: "There is a level of frustration among the Justice for the Forgotten group in that they believe that they were not going to get a reply at all.

"Justice Barron has indicated that it is absolutely critical that he receives the information that he requests."

Mr Ahern added: "I have raised this matter directly with both Prime Minister Tony Blair and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland John Reid.

"All the relevant UK Government departments have been searching their records and that search is nearing completion."

Allegations

The commission was set up in Dublin after years of accusations that the British security services colluded with loyalist paramilitaries to launch the attacks.

The accusations have been denied by both Britain and Mr Ahern.

Three car bombs exploded in Dublin city centre on May 17, 1974, killing 26 people.

Ninety minutes later an explosion in Monaghan killed seven people.

More than 250 people were injured in the attacks.


Any of us who have been in government would know that the day you get the request you could lay your hands on the files. There seems to be some foot-dragging here

Michael Noonan
Fine Gael leader

The Justice for the Forgotten group, which was established as a support network for the bereaved and survivors, has described the bombings as the biggest unsolved murder case in the history of the Irish state.

Nearly IR£850,000 has already been spent in the Republic on investigations into the bombings, Mr Ahern said.

Michael Noonan, leader of the main opposition party, Fine Gael, questioned why the documents could not have been made available in installments as they were found by officials in Britain.

"It is self-evident that there would be primary files in the possession of the British Government dealing with both the Dublin and Monaghan bombings because these were events with a major loss of life and with major security and political consequences north and south of the border," he said.

"Any of us who have been in government would know that the day you get the request you could lay your hands on the files. There seems to be some foot-dragging here."

Mr Ahern responded: "Justice Barron has been very specific about what he is seeking. I do not think it requires every record and file to be checked.

"We have been pressing and pressing this since the early spring time."

See also:

15 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
Bomb victim families meet MPs
12 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Minister meets bomb victim families
17 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Victims of bombings remembered
05 Aug 99 | Northern Ireland
Inquiry call into 1974 loyalist atrocity
14 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Bombing victims remembered
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