Continued Cover-up & Justice Denied
A Letter from Ireland
I have just returned to my desk in the Sinn Féin Head Office from attending a commemoration of the bombing in Dublin.
The site of the bombing at Sackville place would be well known to visitors to Dublin. It is a short, narrow street at the side of the old Cleary’s department store facing the GPO. Many would have walked past this nondescript street, not knowing its history.
On December 1st, 1972 two car bombs exploded in Dublin. The first at near Liberty Hall. The second is at Sackville Place. The bombing at Sackville killed two, George Bradshaw and Tommy Duffy. In total one hundred and twenty-seven would be left injured.
These bombs were timed to go off as the Dáil (Irish parliament) debated the government's proposals for repressive measures targeted at Irish Republicans. The proposals were on the verge of defeat. The bombs went off. Objectors fell silent. The measures were introduced and welcomed by the British Government.
The bombers would return to the same spot, seven weeks later killing 21-year-old Tommy Douglass.
The bombing has long been suspected to have been the work of the British military in collusion with unionist paramilitaries. No one has ever been convicted of the bombing, the investigations at
the time were wholly inadequate and the British Government has refused to hand over files relating to the cases. The Irish Government has failed to establish a promised Commission of Investigation into the attacks.
Fifty years and last week the British Government continue to cover up its actions. In recent years bereaved families have achieved a measure of success in exposing the actions of the British through court actions, inquests, and investigations.
The response of the British Government introduced a law to end investigations, and inquests and block victims from accessing the courts. These unilateral proposals run contrary to the Good Friday Agreement, and the Stormont House Agreement. They are opposed by the Irish Government, victims, all political parties, human rights groups, the churches, and the US Congress.
Last week the British Government continued to push its proposals through the House of Lords. Ignoring the views of all those opposed to this legislation they claimed they had to act as there was no consensus on the way forward!
In addition to this corrupt piece of legislation, they also have proposed unilaterally overturning another explicit commitment of the Good Friday Agreement that the maximum sentence for conviction relating to the conflict would be two years.
The unilateral reopening of this settled matter is an exercise in the most cynical politics to undermine the solidarity of victims groups and muddy the waters.
This was a matter that was settled 24 years ago and voted on in referendums.
Standing with those bereaved on the streets of Dublin, their children, and grandchildren, it was clear that the British may try and stall and frustrate but ultimately the truth will win out. The only question is how much more pain and suffering will the British Government subject these families to endure.
Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North America. Each week he writes a letter from Ireland with news and analysis. It is featured in the weekly Friends of Sinn Féin USA Newsletter. Be sure you are subscribed to stay up to date.