Belfast Telegraph

Irish minister O'Donovan stands by claim republicans 'share responsibility' for UVF Dublin-Monaghan bombings

Irish Junior Minister Patrick O'Donovan has stood by an interview in which he suggested republicans had some responsibility for the Dublin-Monaghan bombings.

The attacks in May 1974 saw three bombs detonated in Dublin, and a forth an hour and a half later in Monaghan, killing 34 people and injuring close to 300.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed in 1993 by loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Volunteer Force.

The new junior minister at the Republic of Ireland's Department of Finance, TD O'Donovan said he did not "differentiate between atrocities" saying all victims had the right to know about what happened their loved ones.

His comments come after an interview with the Sunday Independent in which TD O'Donovan talked of Sinn Fein's suitability to serve in government, and referred to the murders of gardai Jerry McCabe and Seamus Quaid, and prison officer Brian Stack - all of whom were killed by the IRA.

He then went onto say: "What about the innocent children blown to smithereens indiscriminately in the likes of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings? That was not done in my name or in the name of any right-minded person.

"So when I hear senior people of a political party talk about 'legitimate combatants', in whose eyes? Who voted for that? I certainly didn't."

Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan called on Mr O'Donovan to apologise for what he described as "clueless" comments.

"It beggars belief that a junior minister could be so clueless with regard to the history of our country," he said.

"It is now recognised the bombings of Dublin and Monaghan were carried out loyalists terror gangs working in collusion with the British security services."

He added that the Dail had given its support to the Justice for the Forgotten Campaign, a campaign group focused on a number of cross-border bombing campaigns during the Troubles.

Speaking on Limerick radio station Live 95FM, Mr O'Donovan said that Sinn Fein had read the interview in a "cherry-picked fashion", and that it had an obligation to bring forward any information it had about atrocities committed during the Troubles.

"And indeed until such time as they do I have a difficulty with people suggesting they would be fit to govern. And I don’t differentiate between atrocities," Mr O'Donovan said. 

"Whether it’s Enniskillen, Omagh, Dublin-Monaghan. All of the victims, whether it’s dead gardai, or dead members of the prison service, their families have a right to know what happened and who carried them out."

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