Statement by Bertie Ahern on the Final Report by the Commission of Investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings 1974, (4 April 2007)
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Statement by Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), on the publication of the Final Report by the Commission of Investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings 1974, (4 April 2007)
"Today I have published the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings of 1974.
The report has been published in its entirety as presented to me.
Mr MacEntee’s report is a further step on the way to uncovering the truth of what happened on that terrible day in 1974 when so many people lost their lives or were injured. I would like to thank Mr MacEntee and his staff for their efforts in conducting this investigation.
I would like to once again acknowledge how difficult this process has been for the families of the victims and the survivors. Arrangements were made by my office for victims and their representatives to view the Report prior to publication.
The Government has considered the findings carefully.
Although they relate to a difficult period in the past and it is clear that there have been very significant improvements in recent years, the findings with regard to shortcomings and omissions are a matter of serious concern.
I have asked for a full review to be carried out of all systems and procedures in the relevant Government Departments and agencies to ensure that the failures found by Mr MacEntee do not occur in future.
I have asked for that review to be submitted to the Government within three months.
Mr MacEntee has advised me that for legal reasons he has been unable to report on one significant aspect of his terms of reference (see Chapter 11). In keeping with his statutory independence, he has not advised me of the specific facts that underlie his legal concerns. I am therefore not in a position to comment on their significance, or otherwise.
The Commission of Investigation is dissolved and its archive has been transferred to my Department, where it is in secure storage. However, the relevant confidential documentation remains subject to legal privilege. I have not therefore seen that material.
Based on the legal advice of the Attorney General on this point, the Government has decided to initially seek voluntary withdrawal of claims of privilege from those agencies, both here and in Britain, who provided confidential material to the Commission of Investigation. That would allow for a review of this material and, if appropriate, making it available to the relevant authorities in this State. It is my hope that this issue can be quickly resolved.
The Government will also shortly consider the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee in respect of the other three reports prepared by Judge Barron.
I will also be in contact with the Opposition parties in Dáil Éireann to agree on a date for a Dáil debate on this Report and on the issue of collusion during the Troubles."
The Taoiseach today published the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings of 1974.
In a statement (see above) the Taoiseach said that the MacEntee Report was "a further step on the way to uncovering the truth of what happened on that terrible day in 1974 when so many people lost their lives or were injured".
Following publication of the Report, the Taoiseach confirmed that he would, as he has already undertaken, now seek agreement with the Opposition parties on a date for a full Dáil debate on the Report and on the issue of collusion during the Troubles.
While noting recent improvements in procedures, the Taoiseach expressed serious concern at the shortcomings and omissions - mainly during the 1970s - identified in the Report. He has, therefore, initiated a full review of systems and procedures in the relevant Departments and agencies to ensure that similar failures do not occur in future. This review is to be completed within three months.
The Taoiseach said that for legal reasons significant questions remain unanswered in respect of one of the MacEntee terms of reference. He said that he was taking steps to address this issue and that he hoped that the legal difficulties involved could be overcome.
Following completion of the MacEntee report, the Government will now consider the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on the other three reports by Judge Barron into events in the 1970s.
Note for Editors:
1. The Taoiseach’s full statement is attached.
2. The terms of reference of the Commission of Investigation were:
To undertake a thorough investigation and make a report on the following specific matters considered by the Government to be of significant public concern.
In relation to the missing documentation:
To take account of investigative work already undertaken into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974, including the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry, the Final Report of the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights, Inquest Statements and the Internal Garda Investigation.
To provide a final report to An Taoiseach not later than six months from the date of establishment of the Commission.
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