Category: Archive

Report: British supplied ’74 explosives

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The findings of a confidential Irish inquiry into the bombings, which took place on May 17, 1974, are currently being written up by Justice Henry Barron, a retired judge. His investigation, ordered by the Irish government, does not have the powers of a public judicial inquiry.
The families of the dead are arguing that a much fuller, more powerful, inquiry be set up, but even this limited one has evidence that undercover British Army soldiers supplied loyalist bombers with explosives and that these were used in the three bombs that exploded in Dublin during rush-hour traffic.
The intention was to politically influence the Irish government at a critical moment in the course of the violence, at the time of the power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland when Dublin was considering its next move.
The explosive material, it is claimed, probably originated in RUC police raids on republican arms dumps, according to expert analysis. It consisted of a crystallized form of explosive that loyalists at that time did not have the expertise to manufacture themselves.
Justice Barron has been forced to delay his inquiry repeatedly because British authorities have been slow to give him vital information. His investigation, due to be completed in April, will bolster a widely held belief that the bombings were engineered by undercover British military agents colluding with unionist paramilitaries.
In 1974, the evidence says, a British Army bomb disposal expert concluded from technical examination that the bomb material could not have been manufactured by the loyalists and must have been provided to them.
According to a Sunday Times report, the explosive expert’s 100-page report submitted to the inquiry states: “Loyalist terrorist groups did not have the skills to undertake this operation in 1974. Further, I do not believe they have ever possessed them, otherwise a similarly complex operation would have been repeated.”
The expert’s report estimates that only five people, all of them British soldiers, combined this level of access to seized explosives and to loyalists.
It describes another bomb in Monaghan, near the border with Northern Ireland, that detonated 90 minutes after the Dublin blasts and killed eight people, as of standard loyalist construction. It is believed to have been built by a different loyalist unit.
The bomb disposal expert’s report was commissioned by Justice for the Forgotten, an Irish government-funded group for the victims of the atrocities, at Barron’s request in 2001. The expert also believed two other loyalist bombs were probably composed of explosives provided by the British Army.
One of these was detonated at Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk, a bar that was at the time used by republicans, on Dec. 19, 1975 and claimed two lives. The second exploded on the same day outside a bar in Silverbridge, Co. Armagh, and killed three people.
A lawyer for the families of Dublin-Monaghan victims has said he could not verify the report, and was concerned that leaks would cause anxiety for relatives. He said they wanted to see the three-year-long inquiry published as soon as possible to prevent a drip-feed of information.

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