TD says families of bombing victims ‘need truth as soon as possible’

On welcoming a report released on the Ballymurphy massacre, Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan Brendan Smith has called for more progress as the families of victims of similar atrocities “need to get the truth as soon as possible.”

In a Dáil exchange with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney on the report earlier this week, Deputy Brendan Smith commented: “I very much welcome and do not doubt the Government's commitment to dealing with legacy issues but the British Government must be equally committed, which has not been the case so far, unfortunately.”

Referring to previous agreed motions on the Ballymurphy massacre and the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 2008, 2011 and 2016, the Cavan Monaghan TD added: “In those motions we called on the British Government to give an independent legal expert access to papers relevant to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Sadly, the British Government has not responded to the request of a sovereign parliament. We must pursue that vigorously again because we will soon reach the 47th anniversary of those terrible atrocities.”

In response, Minister Coveney referred to the Stormont House Agreement and said that there must be a structured system that can establish the truth and pursue justice.

Deputy Smith also spoke again of knowing families of other victims of atrocities during the Troubles, adding: “In December 1972 in my own home area of Belturbet, County Cavan, two young teenagers, Geraldine O'Reilly and Patrick Stanley, were killed by a bomb. RTÉ will broadcast a programme tonight about the bombing of Belturbet. Last year I brought information to this House that had been passed to me by senior academics from the University of Nottingham.

“Their research showed clearly that there was collusion with state forces in Northern Ireland regarding the transport of that bomb from County Fermanagh into County Cavan on that tragic night. The Minister for Justice is pursuing that matter with the northern authorities at my request.”

Deputy Smith concluded: “In every opportunity the Minister has to meet with members of the British Government, and when working with members of the Northern Ireland Executive, it is absolutely important that it is emphasised that we must get the truth. These families have said to me that they are getting older and that they need to get the truth as soon as possible.”