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Last Updated: Monday, 17 May, 2004, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Families attend emotional ceremony
BBC Northern Ireland's Dublin correspondent Shane Harrison reports from commemorations to mark the 30th anniversary of the UVF bombings in Dublin and Monaghan, the single worst day of the Troubles.

It was an emotional day for the survivors and relatives of those who died in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Thirty-three died on the Troubles' bloodiest day
Thirty-three people died on the Troubles' bloodiest day
They believe they have long been neglected, callling their pressure group, Justice for the Forgotten.

The bombs, three in Dublin and one in Monaghan, claimed the lives of 34 people, including a pregnant woman and a stillborn child.

Just after 1100 BST on Monday, about 100 people affected by the attacks gathered at Talbot Street in Dublin, the scene of one of the bombings, and laid wreaths at a monument to remember loved ones.

The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, joined them to show his support.

But several people there kept asking him why could his government not hold a public inquiry into what happened 30 years ago, given that nobody has ever been convicted.

Many suspect that elements in the British security forces helped the loyalists to carry out the attacks.

A report last December by a retired Judge, Henry Barron, found no evidence of high-level collusion between the British and the UVF, but said that low-level cooperation was likely.

Mr Ahern told the relatives that he also wanted to establish the truth, but he asked what was the point of holding a public inquiry if the British would not co-operate and make their security files available.

Justice Henry Barron and Margaret Unwin from the Justice for the Forgotten Group
Justice Barron, right, issued the report last December
He said: "I find it hard to believe, quite frankly, that there is no information. I believe Tony Blair that they can't find it... This has been the dilemma that we've faced for the last five or six years."

Chairwoman of Justice for the Forgotten, Bernie McNally, who lost an eye in one of the bombings, describes the British attitude as "appalling".

And she wonders how Judge Barron could have reached his conclusions about alleged collusion when "he didn't have access to the files he was looking for".

Billy O'Neill, who lost his father, goes even further.

He says: "It's very clear today there was involvement by British forces given the professionalism... and the way in which the bombing was carried out."

Another sore point for the relatives is that the inquests are only now taking place and due to conclude this week.

Why the delay? Because the Irish police never told the coroner that their investigation had run into the sand.

Mr Ahern was among those who attended a Remembrance Service
Mr Ahern was among those who attended a Remembrance Service
Greg O'Neill, the group's lawyer, also has harsh words about the British and their non-attendance at the inquests.

"It's an appalling statement that the Northern Ireland Office, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Forensic Service refuse to co-operate with the inquests," he said.

The Irish Government has promised to help the victims financially. But money for many in the Justice for the Forgotten group is not the issue: what they want, they say, is the truth.

And many hope that this time next year, when they gather at Talbot Street, they will be a step closer to what they regard as the truth and justice.

BBC NI's Sharon Hall:
"Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said his government remained committed to finding the truth"

Bombings report being studied
20 Jan 04  |  Northern Ireland
Report on 1974 loyalist bombs
29 Oct 03  |  Northern Ireland
Car bombs inquest re-opens
20 Jun 03  |  Northern Ireland
'Delay' in handing bomb files over
13 Nov 01  |  Northern Ireland

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