‘I want to see secret files on why dad was murdered but Garda won’t release them’: Operation Kenova probes Dublin Monaghan bombing by UVF

A man who was terribly maimed and lost his father in the Dublin Monaghagn bombings claims the Garda has failed to hand over files on the atrocity to UK police - despite a formal agreement to exchange information.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 6:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 6:13 pm
Edward and Martha O'Neill on their wedding day. Edward was killed in the 1974 Dublin Monaghan bombings while his wife miscarried their unborn daughter, also Martha, as a result of the trauma.

A series of UVF bombs in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974  killed 33 people and an unborn child in one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles.

Edward O’Neill, 51, is one of many victims who has been given no significant information. He was only five when he was walking in Dublin with his  father, also Edward, and his brother Billy in 1974.

“I was blown across the road and part of a building fell on top of me,” he said.

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His father was killed and he and his brother were badly injured. His mother, Martha, was eight months pregnant, but miscarried due to shock.

Edward suffered serious injuries to his skull, neck, sternum and both legs and recently had his 60th corrective surgery.

The Irish government appointed barrister Patrick MacEntee to head an inquiry into the atrocities. A final report was published in 2007.

However Mr O’Neill says the real story remains untold. He believes Garda have covered up the fact they had advance warning.

The Irish government has refused to release the McEntee files to victims, despite a protracted legal battle.

In 2019 British courts called for an independent investigation into claims of UK collusion, which is being taken forward by Jon Boutcher of Bedfordshire Police under the banner of Operation Kenova.

Edward said: “Jon Boutcher told me he has made multiple attempts to get the McEntee files from Garda and they haven’t handed them over yet.”

The South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) wrote to the Garda in February on behalf of Mr O’Neill asking why the Garda has delayed handing over the documents. The Garda confirmed it has a formal agreement with Mr Boutcher but did not give a direct answer.

Instead it told SEFF it has provided “every support... in so far as it can in accordance with law and will continue to actively progress efforts” in supporting Mr Boutcher.

The Garda told the News Letter it does not make detailed public comment on ongoing investigations.

It said the Garda reaffirms its commitment to investigate the bombings, to identify those resonsible and hold them to account. The force also appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

A spokesman for Operation Kenova said they are consulting with the Garda on “a number of exhibits and pieces of information and expect to be given access in due course”.

The News Letter also invited the office of the Taoiseach to comment, but it offered no response

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Alistair Bushe