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Monday, 21 January, 2002, 19:28 GMT
Assembly supports bomb files call
Dublin and Monaghan bombings: 33 died in Troubles' bloodiest day
Thirty-three died on the Troubles' bloodiest day
A motion calling on the British Government to hand over all relevant documents and files to the inquiry into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings has been passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The inquiry, which was set up by the Irish government two years ago, is investigating the bombings which killed 33 people.

The Democratic Unionist Party objected to the motion - which was tabled by members of the Women's Coalition and the Alliance Party - but it received the support of a majority of assembly members present during the debate on Monday.

Women's Coalition leader Monica McWilliams tabled the motion making the call following a request from the victims' families to aid the inquiry.

Monica McWilliams:
Monica McWilliams: "We must help victims to get answers"

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

The three car bombs detonated in Dublin and Monaghan on 17 May caused the biggest loss of life on a single day in the course of the Troubles.

Despite a formal request by Mr Justice Henry Barron almost a year ago, British security documents have not been made available to the independent commission investigating the bombings.

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

Mr Justice Barron, the Irish judge leading the investigation, passed on his concerns when he met Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid last November.

Legal basis

Irish Premier Bertie Ahern also expressed his concern in the Irish parliament that the investigation was not able to proceed quickly because it needed the documents.

Monica McWilliams said it was important for politicians from all parties to join together and give unanimous backing to her motion.

"All this is asking for, is the investigation to be given any papers that are there and that any papers are opened up to them. There is a legal basis for that," she said.

We welcome that the debate is taking place, which is a recognition of the suffering of the victims of this atrocity

Bernie McNally
Relatives' spokesperson

"Clearly any conflict resolution that is going to be happening in Northern Ireland shouldn't be dependent on who carried out the bombing and whose hurt was the greatest.

"Every family has the right to know what happened to their loved ones and it is the least we as assembly members should be able to do to support them."

Members of the support group for those bereaved and injured in the bombings plan to listen to the debate in the public gallery at Stormont.

Chairperson of the group, Bernie McNally, said: "We welcome that the debate is taking place, which is a recognition of the suffering of the victims of this atrocity.

"Our hope is that the motion will achieve cross-party support in the assembly. The victims come from both traditions in Ireland."

Women's Coalition 's Monica McWilliams:
"Every family has the right to know what happened their loved ones"
See also:

13 Nov 01 | Northern Ireland
'Delay' in handing bomb files over
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
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