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Ministerial address on the anniversary of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings

Minister Charles Flanagan, Northern Ireland Peace Process, Speech, Northern Ireland, Ireland, 2017

 

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Remarks by Minister Flanagan at the laying of a wreath at the anniversary of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings,

17 May 2017

Lord Mayor,

Cathaoirleach,

Deputies, Senators, Councillors,

Father Clowe,

Representatives of Justice for the Forgotten,

And I want to acknowledge in particular those bereaved and injured on this day 43 years ago and the families and friends of all those affected,

Thank you for inviting me to a lay a wreath on behalf of the Government on the 43rd anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. I want to convey, on behalf of the Government, sincere condolences to each family who lost a loved one, and to all of those who were injured in the appalling attacks on 17 May 1974.

We will never forget the 33 people who lost their lives that day - the highest number of deaths on any single day of the Troubles - and the more than 300 hundred people seriously injured. We stand in solidarity with all who have suffered in the long years since that day of shocking violence on our streets in Dublin and in Monaghan.

I know that the pain of families and of survivors continues to endure. That pain is compounded by the absence - after more than four decades - of the full truth of what happened. My Government colleagues and I are determined to continue, and to complete, our efforts to seek the truth of those awful events.

Every year that passes we must renew our determination to establish the truth and so secure some measure of comfort for all who have suffered.

Last year, all parties in the Dáil unanimously supported a third Motion on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, as well as the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk and the murder of Seamus Ludlow.

This reiterates the call on the British Government to allow access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents in their possession relating to these appalling events.

The Taoiseach and I have pursued this request vigorously over the last twelve months, reflecting the commitment in our Programme for Government. We will continue to do so, proactively and at the highest level, including with the next British Government, so that the questions around the attacks will finally be answered.

In this work we cooperate closely with the other parties in the Dáil. I want to acknowledge the efforts by colleagues across the political spectrum on this issue and recognise the presence here today of a number of Dáil Deputies and Senators who have been long standing advocates on this important matter.

43 years without answers, is 43 years too long. Both myself and my Government colleagues want to see this now finally dealt with and we will continue to pursue the Motion, which has the support of all parties in the Oireachtas, until the simple request for the truth is met.

I want to acknowledge the unstinting work of Justice for the Forgotten, who have devoted tireless efforts to representing victims and survivors of the Troubles. I acknowledge the tireless efforts and commitment of Margaret Urwin, Secretary, Justice for the Forgotten, and her fellow members. I am pleased that their valuable work is directly supported through my own Department’s Reconciliation Fund.

The violence and suffering of the Troubles touched all parts of this island and beyond. The Government is determined to achieve the establishment of the institutions for dealing with the legacy of the past that were agreed as part of the Stormont House Agreement in 2014. This is long overdue to victims and survivors of the Troubles.

In the discussions at Stormont with the British Government and the political parties in recent months, I have strongly emphasised the imperative of moving forward with the Stormont House legacy framework. When these discussions resume next month, I will continue to press for a definitive way forward and the urgent establishment of the legacy bodies.

Dealing effectively with the legacy of the past is one tangible way of honouring the memory of all those killed and injured in the dark days of the Troubles including those victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings who are foremost in our thoughts today.

I wish to acknowledge the presence here of Denis Bradley and I applaud his lifetime’s work in furtherance of peace and reconciliation across our island.

As a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government is dedicated to upholding its principles and to protecting its institutions.

We have a duty to support the consolidation of peace in Northern Ireland and ensure that we never return to the days of violence on this island which destroyed so many lives. As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I take that solemn duty most seriously.

My Government colleagues and I are committed also to securing a deeper reconciliation between all communities and traditions. In doing so, we must fulfil our obligations to all victims and survivors. I reaffirm today the Government’s commitment to achieving that with urgency and determination.

Thank you again for the kind invitation to today’s commemoration.

ENDS