[Sinn Fein]

30th March 1999

Disappointment at Minister's negative response on Dublin-Monaghan bombings

Trimble urged to''establish trust on basis of Agreement''

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has expressed disappointment at the negative response of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform John O'Donoghue whom the Cavan/Monaghan deputy urged at the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body to establish a tribunal of inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 as requested by the relatives of he dead and the injured. The Sinn Fein TD also raised the murder of human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson and the demand for an independent international inquiry into her death. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The 25th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings is coming up in May. The relatives of the dead and injured deserve a positive response from the Irish government. I believe that in the weeks ahead the Irish government will have to reconsider the issue and take the initiative on this and other examples of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and British armed forces, including the RUC.''

Deputy Ó Caoláin supported the motion passed by the Body which commended both governments and the political parties on progress made thus far in implementing the Good Friday Agreement. An amendment from the British Tory MP David Wiltshire seeking to insert a sentence demanding decommissioning as a precondition was rejected. Addressing the current impasse Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``We entered the Assembly despite the fact that all the repugnant apparatus of the Northern state remain in place- the armed sectarian RUC, the British Army, the emergency legislation, the biased judiciary, the 130,000 licensed weapons in the hands of the unionist community, economic and cultural discrimination against nationalists. We are prepared to enter an Executive in spite of the fact that all of these things remain place.

``We could in conscience, and consistent wit our politics and with our long experience of the Northern state, have made the immediate redress of any or all of these injustices a precondition to our participation in the new institutions. If we had insisted on such an approach we would have ensured that the Agreement was either not achieved or else broken apart once achieved. we could have attempted to rewrite the Agreement and insert preconditions. We have not done so. Others must not be allowed to do so.

``I urge David Trimble to establish trust on the firm basis of the Agreement we reached last Good Friday. Mindsets were decommissioned on that occasion. Failure to follow through now will serve only to reverse that process. it is through the Agreement that mutual trust and political progress can be achieved.''

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