HomeNewsArchived Speeches and Press Releases

Statement on the publication of the Barron Report into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings 1974


It is some 30 years since the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974 but that has not diminished the need for answers and clarity about what happened on what was one of the blackest days in our recent history.  I therefore welcome the publication of the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry by former Supreme Court Judge Henry Barron into these bombings.

When I met with Justice for the Forgotten in April 1999 I gave them my commitment to ensure that the truth was established in relation to the bombings and their aftermath. After that meeting and following further discussions with Justice for the Forgotten and with the agreement of Deputies across all parties, the Government established the Independent Commission of Inquiry.

The bombings were unspeakable outrages. They were despicable and cowardly acts of inhumanity. Three car bombs, which had been placed in Parnell Street, Talbot Street and South Leinster Street exploded without warning within minutes of each other at around 5.30pm. As a result, 26 people and an unborn child were killed. Later, at almost 7.00pm, a fourth no warning bomb exploded in Monaghan Town resulting in 7 more people being killed. More than 240 people required hospital treatment as a result of the bombings.

Not only were 34 innocent lives lost on that terrible day but for many the legacy of pain and suffering remains. Victims and families were left devastated. Many people never recovered. Some still suffer pain to this day.

The former Chief Justice Liam Hamilton began the work of the Inquiry in January 2000 and the former Supreme Court Judge Henry Barron carried it on from October of that year. I would like to take this opportunity to again thank the Judge and his team for all their work in preparing the Report and for their commitment and dedication to this difficult task.  I would also like to pay tribute to the earlier work of the former Chief Justice, the late Liam Hamilton.

The establishment of an Inquiry also followed on from the work of the Victims Commission - sole member, the former Tánaiste, John Wilson.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Womens Rights will now consider, including in public session, the Report of the Independent Commission and report back to the Dáil and Seanad within three months with its findings on whether the Report addresses all of the issues covered in the terms of reference of the Inquiry; the lessons to be drawn and any actions to be taken in the light of the Report, its findings and conclusions and, whether, having regard to the Reports findings,and following consultations with the Inquiry, a further public inquiry into any aspect of the Report would be required or fruitful. The Committee may accept including in public session submissions on the Report from interested persons and bodies.

I understand that Judge Barron will report early in the new year on the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973 and on the other cases referred to him including the Seamus Ludlow case and the Dundalk bombing of 1975.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Justice for the Forgotten for their work on behalf of the families and for their assistance to the Inquiry.

10 December 2003