Dublin Monaghan bombings survivors see claim dismissed

Dublin Monaghan bombings survivors see claim dismissed

The High Court has dismissed an claim by survivors of the Dublin Monaghan bombings that the handling of parts of a report complied by the Commission of Investigation into the atrocities amounted to a breach of the State's human rights obligations.

The Justice for the Forgotten group as well as two victims of the explosions that occurred on May 17, 1974, brought proceedings against The Taoiseach, Ireland and the Attorney General arising out of the Commission's handling of one of its terms of reference in its report published in April 2007.

They claimed the Commission's failure to report on why the Gardaí had not followed up information about a man, with alleged links to loyalist terrorist who stayed in Dublin Four Court's Hotel between May 15 and 17 was an infringement of Article 2 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

The also claimed that the failure to provide them with access to the Commission's archive was a further breach of their convention rights.

The State had denied their claims.

The Commission, whose sole member was Patrick McEntee SC, was set up in 2005.

However in today's judgment on a preliminary issue raised by the State as part of its defence Ms Justice Mary Laffoy agreed with the defendants that complaints which related to events 29 years before the European Convention on Human Rights Act came into force in 2003 were "not justiciable", which means they are not matters that could be reviewed, in Irish law.

The Judge also ruled that plaintiffs did not have a legally enforceable right of access to the commission's archive. The Judge said the Taoiseach was bound by the prohibition on disclosure until 30 years after the dissolution of the Commission.

After the judgment the Secretary of the Justice for the Forgotten Mrs Margaret Urwin expressed her disappointment at the ruling.

However she said that the group needed time to fully consider the matter before commenting further.

The case was brought by Derek Byrne who was seriously injured by an explosion that occurred on Parnell Street on May 17 Margaret McNicholl whose sister Mary McKenna was killed in an explosion on Talbot Street and the Justice for the Forgotten Ltd, which was set up to provide support and advance the issues of those who were killed or injured in the bombings.

In their proceedings they were seeking declarations the Commission's failure to report about the "Man in the Hotel", and the failure to state in public the legal difficulties that made it unable to report about the individual amounted to a failure to perform its functions and were in breach of their Human rights.

When the Commission reported to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern three years ago it stated that it could not report on this matter and that an explanation had been given to the Taoiseach.

The plaintiffs also claimed that the Taoiseach was not entitled to receive such an explanation and not disclose it publicly.

They sought further declarations that the failure by the Taoiseach to make public the difficulties made known to him by the Commission was also a breach of ECHR rights.

They also sought declarations that the failure of the Taoiseach to allow them access to the Commission's archive were further breaches of their ECHR rights.

Following her ruling Ms Justice Laffoy adjourned the matter to October for further submissions.


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