25 January 2006

New source raises bomb victims hope for justice


25/01/2006 - 19:02:22

Relatives of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings tonight expressed hope that a new source of information could boost their search for justice.

The Commission of Investigation into the 1974 bombings, which killed 33 people and one unborn child, requested an extension after being approached earlier this month – just weeks before it was due to wind up its inquiry.

Patrick MacEntee, SC, QC, the sole member of the commission investigating the three car bombs in Dublin and one in Monaghan, said he now expected his final report to be submitted by February 28, 2006.

“The commission has, for some considerable time, sought the voluntary cooperation and assistance of certain entities and persons who the commission is satisfied are in a position to materially assist this investigation,” he said.

“On January 11, 2006 a number of those entities indicated a willingness to meet with the commission to discuss certain matters relevant to the terms of reference of this investigation.

“This development is, in the commission’s view, important to the requirement in the commission’s terms of reference that the commission should thoroughly investigate the specific matters set out in its statutory remit.

“The commission is satisfied that, were it to decline to accept this offer of cooperation a significant opportunity to advance this investigation would be lost.

“The commission is also satisfied that if the opportunity to pursue this offer of co-operation is not taken up by the commission the potential fruits of this possible line of investigation may not be available in the future.

“The commission is satisfied that the importance of the co-operation indicated by the entities concerned requires the commission to notify the Taoiseach of this development and to request a revision of the time frame for the completion of the final report of this investigation.”

Margaret Urwin, secretary of victims’ group, Justice for the Forgotten, said it was necessary for Mr MacEntee to fully explore any new source that came forward.

“While we don’t know who the entities are, it’s fairly obvious it must be somebody outside the jurisdiction,” she said.

“We just don’t know of course – the process is entirely private.

“The people I’ve spoken to say obviously it’s better if there’s a specific avenue to explore to do that.

“It’s not a case of it dragging on for years, it’s a genuine attempt to explore a new avenue.”

The commission was set up last May to investigate why the original garda investigation was wound down, why officers did not follow-up certain leads, how documents relating to the case went missing and whether there were appropriate systems in place to prevent such papers going missing again.

It was charged to build upon the investigative work already done and present a final report to the Taoiseach within six months, although that timeframe was then extended until the end of January following its first interim report in November 2005.

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