The Dublin-Monaghan bombings: a priest’s appeal

There is a Jesuit priest called Micheál MacGreil writing in the letter section of today’s Irish Times. His letter is given considerable space as he recalls the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and his own efforts to support the bereaved. Over five paragraphs he relives the experience and the pain involved that day in May 1974.

But it is the final paragraph that gets to the nub of his concern:

“Such tragedies should never be forgotten It is still not too late to do something noble in their memory. It is also necessary to let the people know who and what were behind these awful events!”

His last sentence is far from original. There have been many calls to have the truth about the Dublin/Monaghan bombings. There have been many claims that the security forces of Britain were involved in the bombings, and included members of the notorious Glenanne gang. Clearly these are incomplete claims, given Fr MacGreil’s final sentence. So where should he start to look. for who and what were behind the bombings?

I’d suggest with the present Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris.  It has been noted by many commentators that Harris, when Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI, worked closely with British intelligence and MI5.  If British state forces were involved in the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, MI5 would know of it. They may even have been involved in the bombings. And since Harris worked closely with MI5 during his time in the RUC and later the PSNI, he could well provide information to satisfy Fr MacGreil’s final-sentence wish. 

But there’s a problem, one which a number of organisations pointed out when Harris was being considered for the post of Garda Commissioner. The fact is, Harris worked in sensitive intelligence positions in the north of Ireland, so there’d be a potential conflict of interests. Put bluntly, his vow of secrecy regarding his work with Mi5 would trump his overseeing of any historical inquiry into the past.  

By appointing Drew Harris as Garda Commissioner, the southern government effectively blocked any attempt to get to the truth about many violent deaths, including the Dublin and Monaghan bombs. Does Fr MacGreil not know this?

Next Sunday marks the forty-sixth anniversary of the Dublin/Monaghan bombings. That’s a long time for the Irish people to be kept in ignorance of who was responsible for these acts of barbarism. But don’t waste time talking to Drew Harris. His lips are sealed.

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