Written answers

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Northern Ireland

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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168. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 464 of 15 December 2020, if there have been further developments in relation to the need for a comprehensive investigation into the Belturbet bombing of December 1972; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30242/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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I thank the Deputy for raising this matter and I know that he has campaigned over many years on behalf of the families of the victims of the Belturbet bombing. Like him and many others, I would also hold the view that the perpetrators of this appalling atrocity should be brought to justice.

Nearly 50 years ago, on 28 December 1972, bombs exploded in three border towns, Clones, Co. Monaghan, Belturbet, Co. Cavan and Pettigo, Co. Donegal. The perpetrators of these bombings demonstrated a callous disregard for human life with many injured and the lives of two innocent young people taken in the Belturbet bombing.

I am assured that these bombings were comprehensively investigated at the time by An Garda Síochána. The investigation pursued various lines of inquiry; however it was not possible to acquire sufficient evidence to sustain a prosecution.

An Garda Síochána has confirmed to me that the investigation remains open and their work has continued in the intervening period. The Gardaí also liaise with the families in relation to any developments. Very regrettably, we have yet to see the perpetrators brought to justice.

I would emphasise however that any new information will be assessed by the Garda authorities. In this regard, the content of the new material from recent academic and media sources has been brought to the attention of the Garda Commissioner for consideration and any appropriate action. This includes the academic article referred to by the Deputy in Parliamentary Question No. 464 of 15 December 2020.

An Garda Síochána remain committed to working closely with the PSNI as necessary, where that could advance the investigation. I can also tell the Deputy that last month I took the opportunity to raise this bombing with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland during my first week as Minister for Justice.

I would ask that anyone with information in relation to these appalling acts to please contact An Garda Síochána. It is never too late to do the right thing by these families who have suffered so much.

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