Relatives of bombing victims relieved over inquest date

RELATIVES of 33 people murdered in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings are relieved a date has been set for the inquests into their deaths and that they are due to finish before the 30th anniversary of the atrocities.

Dublin City Coroner Brian Farrell will hear the inquests over two-weeks at the end of April.

Secretary of the Justice for the Forgotten group Margaret Irwin said: “Obviously we are anxious to get the inquests moving on. It’s a relief to have a date.”

Legal representatives for the families argued at a hearing in the Store Street coroner’s court yesterday that the inquest should not merely focus on the how, when and where each of the victims died.

The inquests should establish the chain of criminal conduct leading to the bombings that will show the victims were unlawfully killed, said senior counsel Cormac O’Dúlacháin, for the families.

The relatives argue information and intelligence that will establish the sequence of events that culminated in the May 17, 1974, bombings must be considered by the inquest.

In addition, Mr O’Dúlacháin asked the coroner whether the Police Service of Northern Ireland has furnished the court with details of primary witnesses or records in relation to the taking of the vehicles used in the car bombings.

Michael Mansfield, a queen’s counsel representing two of the families, said he believed both the chain of events and what motivated those who carried out the bombings came within the scope of the inquest.

Mr Farrell said he will rule on the scope of the inquests at a hearing on April 7. The coroner’s office is sifting through around 1,600 statements. Shane Murphy, for the garda commissioner and the State, said he will investigate whether the chief state solicitor has any other documents and, if so, pass them on.

A series of events is planned for May 16 and 17 to mark the 30th anniversary of the bombings that killed 27 people in Dublin and six people in Monaghan. President Mary McAleese is to unveil a memorial in Monaghan a day before the anniversary and on May 17, a service is to be held in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral.

The inquests into the murders will begin before a jury on Tuesday April 27. It is expected the court will move to Monaghan for at least one of the days. A preliminary hearing is to be held on April 7.

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