Victims of the worst single atrocity of the Troubles are pressing for full disclosure in a major legal action over alleged British government collusion with the loyalist killers.
Survivors and relatives of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings want a High Court order for the Ministry of Defence, Northern Ireland secretary and PSNI to serve their defences to claims lodged two years ago.
Thirty-three people, including a pregnant woman, were killed and almost 300 others injured in the no-warning explosions during evening rush hour in 1974.
No-one was ever charged with carrying out the attacks later claimed by the UVF.
Members of the terror organisation’s infamous Glenanne Gang operating in mid Ulster during the period were allegedly responsible.
Lawsuits were filed amid suspicions that the unit received assistance from elements within the British security and intelligence services in Northern Ireland.
Nearly 20 of the actions were listed together for the first time at a preliminary stage in the High Court on Monday.
Their lawyers began attempts to secure further information from the defendants.
They also want disclosure from the PSNI, the MoD and the secretary of state’s representatives in a bid to substantiate allegations of British collusion in the bombings.
Outside court solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said: “This application is significant because we cannot push for release of important materials until defences are filed.
“The legal process can be terribly frustrating for families bereaved in the conflict, so there is an obligation on all of the parties, including ourselves, to try and expedite matters.”
He added: “We anticipate the court putting in place a timetable for the next stages of the civil proceedings.”
Margaret Urwin, representative of victims’ group Justice For The Forgotten, stressed the need to make progress.
“For 40 years since the atrocities we have fought to get the authorities to release all of the archive documents which would help bring closure for the bereaved and injured,” she said.
“We really hope the High Court in Belfast will intervene and make the necessary orders.”