The remains of the car used in the Belturbet Bomb in December 1972. ©Photographed by Paddy Ronaghan.

Taoiseach urged to confront Johnson on Belturbet bombing

INACTION Deputy describes British government's blanking of Irish requests of access to files relating to Dublin Monaghan Bombs as "absolutely reprehensible"

Evidence of British state forces' involvement in the murder of teenagers in Belturbet must be put to Boris Johnson's government, insists a local TD.

Speaking in the Dáil last week Deputy Brendan Smith has called on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to confront the British government over the 1972 bombing which murdered Geraldine O'Reilly and Patrick Stanley.

The Fianna Fáil TD was speaking as the anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, which occurred on May 17, 1974 approached. The atrocities, claimed the lives of 33 innocent people and severely injured hundreds more. Yet successive requests to the British to access to their files have been stonewalled.

"Sadly, nobody has been brought to justice for those horrific crimes," said Deputy Smith of the Cavan and Monaghan bombs.

“The Taoiseach will recall that in 2008, 2011 and 2016 this House unanimously passed motions calling 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 legitimate requests of a sovereign parliament. This inaction on the part of the British Government is absolutely reprehensible," said Deputy Smith.

The Cavan and Monaghan TD then broached the Belturbet bombing and murder of two innocent teenagers.

"Some time ago, I put on the record of this House information given to me by the University of Nottingham which showed conclusively that state forces in Northern Ireland colluded in the transport of the bomb from County Fermanagh to Belturbet on that fateful night.

“Families have waited for decades to try to get to the truth. In the Taoiseach's next engagements with the British Government and Mr. Johnson, these issues must be top of the agenda. We must try to ensure that the truth is obtained for the families involved, who continue to suffer and grieve so much as a result of the actions of murderers operating on behalf of paramilitary organisations and some within British state forces.”

The Taoiseach responded saying: "The views of this House were unanimously expressed in a motion in the context of appointing an independent person who would have independent legal access to the documents and work done at the University of Nottingham.

“I have raised the broader issue of legacy consistently with Prime Minister Johnson during our bilateral meetings, not just in March but prior to that. We have written to him to express our deep concern at the approach set out in the British Government's July command paper and to emphasise that any decision to proceed with UK legislation on that basis would have negative consequences for reconciliation for victims and for political stability in Northern Ireland. That remains our position.”

Mr Martin added: “We do not favour unilateralism in the context of legacy. We believe the British Government needs to respond to the views and concerns of victims, primarily in relation to the legacy issue, and follow through on the Stormont House Agreement, which was agreed in 2014 between both Governments and the parties. That is the way forward. It is a comprehensive framework.”