State files ‘suggest taoiseach collusion’ in IRA cover-up, victim group says
The IRA double bombing just outside Warrenpoint in 1979 killed 18 British soldiers on their way to Newry alongside Carlingford Lough.
Today, victim group Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) claim that then Irish government files appear to confirm RUC claims that Taoiseach Jack Lynch was then involved in a coordinated effort to cover up details of the way the IRA carried out the attack – and therefore frustrate the RUC. efforts to ensure justice.
In 2012, a former RUC officer told the Smithwick Inquiry that Garda told him that Taoiseach Jack Lynch said there would be no inquest into the murders because they were ‘a “political crime”.
Jonathan Larner, a UHRW advocacy worker, says he was recently asked to look into the attack on a brother of one of the killed. He says a report from the Historical Investigations team shows Gardai arrested and questioned two Republicans leaving the area of the attack in Co Louth; both had explosives on their clothes and also vegetation corresponding to the suspected detonation site overlooking the attack. However, the scene was destroyed before the RUC was allowed to examine it and no one was ever prosecuted.
But now Mr Larner says Irish state documents he found from September 1979 – seen by the News Letter – show Dublin was involved in “a coordinated attempt at disinformation” at the website. detonation being under its jurisdiction.
Jack Lynch’s briefing notes in response to BBC Panorama read: “There is no evidence that the explosion was carried out on this side of the border” and a document prepared for him before his meeting with the Prime Minister Briton spoke of “the lack of evidence, to date, of the involvement of the South [the] Attack on Warrenpoint ”.
An Irish Foreign Office article in Lynch also referred to “dubious” allegations that the attack was carried out from the south.
Mr Larner said: “The official Dublin line that the Republic of Ireland was not used in this horrific ambush is astounding when all the evidence gathered by Gardai shows it.
“Our client is very sorry; who decided that Dublin would promote such a cover-up? This very strongly suggests that Taoiseach Jack Lynch got along with the IRA in that he attempted to cover up their role and thereby derail the proper investigations into these murders.
He added: “If the Taoiseach Micheál Martin is serious about a ‘shared island’ and engaging with trade unionists, then perhaps he can start by addressing precisely what the Minister of Justice was doing and the department of Taoiseach. “
The Taoiseach’s office, the Irish Department of Justice and Garda offered no response to Mr Larner’s comments.
UHRW wrote to Taoiseach seeking answers.
In 2012, a former deputy RUC deputy police officer told Smithwick court in Dublin that former Taoiseach Jack Lynch ordered the warden not to cooperate with the RUC on the Narrow Water bombings, which killed 18 British soldiers.
He attended a number of meetings with senior guards about the attack and said the fourth and final meeting in 1980 was very acrimonious.
He said Garda Deputy Commissioner McLaughlin said the Taoiseach “decreed at the outset of the investigation that the murders were a political crime and [that] no assistance should be given to the RUC ”.
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