Victims of the worst single atrocity of the Troubles have secured an order for disclosure of documents in a major legal action over alleged British government collusion with the loyalist killers.
Survivors and relatives of those who died in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings were at the High Court in Belfast for a preliminary hearing in their lawsuits.
They were granted an order for the Ministry of Defence and PSNI to provide a list of all relevant documents in their possession within 12 weeks of an amended statement of claim being lodged.
Making the ruling on discovery, Master McCorry said the plaintiffs’ attendance was an indication of the importance of the case.
Thirty-three people, including a pregnant woman, were killed and almost 300 others injured in the no-warning explosions during evening rush hour.
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.
Writs have been issued against the chief constable, the Ministry of Defence and government representatives alleging collusion in the bombings.
Separate legal applications are expected to be mounted on behalf of defendants to have parts of the claim struck out on jurisdictional grounds.
Outside court solicitor Kevin Winters of KRW Law, representing the victims and survivors involved in the litigation, welcomed the discovery order.
He said: “It’s a significant breakthrough for the families of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings who have been waiting for nearly 45 years.”