The Dundalk Democrat, 21 September 2002:
Barron investigations lead to public inquiry into Dundalk bombing
By Anne Campbell
The current Barron Inquiry into the Dundalk and Dublin/Monaghan bombings is expected to recommend a full public inquiry into the atrocities, a leading news magazine has suggested.
According to this month's edition of Magill Magazine, Justice Barron, who has been conducting an inquiry into the bombings, will not "shy away" from drawing adverse inferences from the lack of British Military co-operation received so far.
Magill understands that his comments about the lack of British co-operation in the report, which is due to be put before the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights later this Autumn, may well be enough to warrant the setting up of a full judicial inquiry.
Maura McKeever, whose father, Jack Rooney, died along with Hugh Watters in the 1975 bombing at Kay's Tavern, this week welcomed the possibility of a full public inquiry.
"If there is a full public inquiry into the Dundalk bombing and the other atrocities we would obviously welcome it", she said. "We have been hoping that this would be the recommendation of the Barron Inquiry and I hope the government will take seriously what the report has to say".
Mr Justice Barron's report is likely to put the government under pressure to set up a full judicial inquiry, which may be along the lines of the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday, in an effort to establish the truth about the bombings.
The Barron Inquiry was set up three years ago at the request of the bombing victims' group, Justice for the Forgotten. Since its establishment it has been dogged with comments that its scope is too limited.
It does not have the power to subpoena witnesses and is entirely dependent on voluntary co-operation.
Magill Magazine revealed that the Inquiry has received co-operation from the Gardai and the RUC, with the exception of Special Branch.
Earlier this year, replying to a question from the Opposition, the Taoiseach revealed that he had passed a memo to Tony Blair and his officials reiterating what Justice Barron required by way of information from their administration.
"Mr Justice Barron received an amount of information previously but has not got all the information he requires or answers to some of the issues he raised", Mr Ahern told the Dail.
"Whether that information is available or will be handed over is uncertain. We have had a commitment from the Prime Minister and from the Secretary of State, Mr John Reid, that they would provide everything they had through their own intelligence agencies.
"Mr Justice Barron is still unsatisfied and that is the position", he added. "It is important, in order to have as full and accurate a report as possible, that everyone with relevant information co-operates fully".
The Taoiseach continued: "As I pointed out to the last Dail, Mr Justice Barron has received some of the information that he sought but not everything.
"It will be a matter for him to assess and comment in his report on the co-operation he has received from the various authorities with which he has been in contact. My role has been to endeavour, as best I can, to get that information".
The Magill article states: "(We) understand that the (Barron) Inquiry has obtained strong new evidence that would indicate at least a willingness on the part of certain sections of the British military to engage in grave undercover actions".
It alleges that the Baron Inquiry has in its possession a security memo prepared for the British government in 1971 with regard to border security.
The memo allegedly states that additional battalions would be required to secure the border and make it difficult for the IRA to operate. There are a number of options open to the British government, instead of the unfavoured additional troops, including one that existing constraints on the British forces should be removed.
The first car bomb south of the border, which was linked to Loyalist terrorists, exploded in May 1972, six months after the memo was written.
In addition, it is expected that the Barron Report may at least hint at the identities of Loyalists responsible for Dublin-Monaghan and possibly Dundalk. It is also understood that the report will be critical of the Gardai and as for the role of British elements in the bombings, the report is thought to be inconclusive, which may prompt a full public inquiry.
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