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Barron Whitewashes Dublin and Monaghan bombings

John McAnulty

17th December 2003

To deal with the Barron whitewash of the 1974 bombings in Dublin and Monaghan one has to ask one simple question.  What is the public interest?  What does the Irish working class need to achieve in relation to these enquires, by glancing into the past?

The answer should be blindingly obvious. Workers need to change society so that the factors that led to these atrocities do not reoccur in the future.

The cause of the bombings is self-evident.  The intervention of the British state in Ireland in general, and a criminal conspiracy by, at the very least, the higher levels of the British military, in particular.  The claim that the killers of the UVF had the technology and organisation necessary can be dismissed outright.  There were unable to achieve this level of sophistication before the bombing and have proved incapable of it since.  In fact all the recent evidence demonstrates more and more that the Loyalist groups had no independent organisation and were throughout the troubles simply convenient tools for the British state.

Suggestions that the loyalists planned and organised the bombings are simply laughable.  The suggestions that a few British squaddies, defying their government, provided the necessary technical and logistical skill is just as unbelievable. The evidence for British involvement is overwhelming.  If it were not clear at the time of the bombings it should have been clear immediately afterwards, when the RUC and British military obstructed investigation at every turn.

The role of Irish capital at the time was to obscure this reality. Rather than a story of an inept enquiry, we have a situation where the leaders of Irish capital colluded in the murder of their own citizens.  This was a deliberate political act – there simply were no circumstances in which the Cosgrove government of the time was going to find itself in confrontation with British imperialism. The Garda went through the motions of conducting an enquiry not because they had no information about the bombing, but because it was all too clear what had happened.

Thirty years on, the political realities have not changed.  In fact Fianna Fail today are even less willing to find themselves in conflict with the British than Fine Gael yesterday.  The outcome of this reality is that the Barron report can only be a whitewash.  Instead of clarifying the events of the bombing they must be further confused and obscured.  So the report concludes that there is no evidence of British involvement – because the British refused absolutely to co-operate with the enquiry or release any of the files.  Despite personal assurances by Blair not one of the 68000 files held in the North were released and the British military didn’t  even bother to answer correspondence!

All of the above throws a searchlight on the Good Friday agreement.  It does so at a number of levels.  Firstly the claimed settlement of the Irish question does not involve the British accepting any responsibility for the suffering of the Irish people during the troubles.  Secondly it shows that there is no equality of relationships.  The Dublin government are unable to throw off the shackles and unilaterally proclaim British involvement in the bombings.  They remain very junior partners to imperialism. Thirdly the Good Friday agreement, with its focus on relativism and perception, rules out any progressive outcome to enquiries.  The pigs breakfast of the Bloody Sunday tribunal is evident to all.  The Corey investigation into collusion begins by drawing an equals sign between the systematic use of terror by the British state forces and the possibility that the republicans may have had informants in the lower levels of the Garda.

There’s plenty to tell us what causes the violence in Irish history – the British presence.  It seems self-evident that ‘Brits out!’ is the answer.  Not only is Irish capital unable to bring this about, they violently oppose the very suggestion.  The Good Friday agreement, rather than paving the way to British withdrawal, in fact cements their rule.  The collusion of Yesterday remains the collusion of Today.



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