Dáil debates

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Belturbet Bombing

4:15 pm

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister of State for being present this evening. He has often spoken to me privately on this issue and he has assured me that every possible effort will be made to pursue these inquiries through An Garda Síochána.

I am also very pleased that the Minister, Deputy McEntee, confirmed to me about the information I put on the record of this House, which came to me through the detailed research of Professor Burke of the University of Nottingham following his work on British state papers, about the clear evidence of collusion between British state forces and the UVF. I also quoted Joe Duffy and Freya McClements who refer in their book to the "Lost Lives" publication. Those publications are detailed and reputable and the people involved have done their homework. Nobody can question the contents of the "Lost Lives" article by Professor Burke or the book, "Children of the Troubles".

Everybody is getting older. We are heading towards half a century since the fatal night the heinous crime was committed when two young teenagers lost their lives and others were injured. I am very pleased An Taoiseach pursued this matter at the highest level with the British Government. We must ensure An Garda Síochána keeps pressure on its counterparts in Northern Ireland and in Britain to have a meaningful investigation. The families want the truth. They do not want vengeance or revenge. That is not in them. They are so graceful and dignified. We all realise that, sadly, the chance of getting a prosecution will be extremely difficult. That is the reality 49 years plus after the incidents, but we must never give up.

It is appalling that Mr. Johnson and his colleagues in the British Government would come up with the idea of an amnesty for murderers from British state forces and paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland. They have suggested we cut off forever the possibility of getting the truth and that we close down all avenues of investigation. The Oireachtas must ensure the message continues to go back that we will never give up on seeking the truth. The very least the families, whom I know so well and who have suffered so much deserve is to get the truth and to be assured the agencies of both States and the Governments have their interests at heart and that they will leave no stone unturned to try to get to the truth of what happened on the night of 28 December 1972.


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