- British security forces were last night accused of widespread
collusion with loyalist terrorists in 'acts of international terrorism'.
- It was the most categoric indictment to date of the role
of undercover British agents on both sides of the border in the 1970s.
- In an official report, a joint Oireachtas committee said
'the spectre of collusion' at the height of the Troubles was ' widespread'.
- Damningly, they accused British security forces of involvement
in 'the butchering of innocent victims'.
- The committee said it was 'fully satisfied' that there
was collusion in a whole series of loyalist gun and bomb attacks - including
several south of the Border.
- Among the atrocities identified is one of the most shocking
mass murders of that era - the Miami Showband massacre of 1975.
- But the committee also found evidence of collusion in
a number of attacks in the Republic, including a bomb attack on Dublin
airport in 1975 and pub bombings in Dundalk and Castleblayney.
- Equally damning is the committee's finding that the British
cabinet of the day knew the full extent to which its security forces had
been infiltrated by loyalist terrorists but failed to respond. It comes
less than two weeks before publication of a separate official report into
the Dublin and Monaghan bombings - that is expected to be just as outspoken
in its condemnation of British collusion.
- Relatives of some of the 18 terrorist victims whose deaths
were investigated led calls last night for a full public inquiry.
- Taoiseach Bertie Ahern called for 'full and unfettered
British co-operation with the ongoing investigations and inquiries'.
- There have been repeated claims that a previous investigation
by Mr Justice Henry Barron into collusion allegations, upon which the committee
based its report, was hampered by a British refusal to cooperate.
- Mr Ahern said that the report's findings were 'deeply
troubling and a matter of most serious concern'.
- And the committee itself said there was no valid reason
why British authorities should not play their part in uncovering the full
extent of collusion.
- It said: 'We are horrified that persons who were employed
by the British administration to preserve peace and to protect people were
engaged in the creation of violence and the butchering of innocent victims.
- 'We are of the view that these matters cannot be swept
under the carpet,' it insisted.
- The committee of five TDs and two senators also had some
harsh words for successive Dublin governments, which it accused of ignoring
clear evidence of collusion at the time.
- 'The fact that little or nothing was done to address
this is, to put it mildly, alarming,' the report stated.
- The committee based part of its research on official
British files recovered from the national archive in London, including
documents about loyalist infiltration of both the RUC and the UDR, the
reserve force that replaced the notorious B Spemitteecials. The document,
entitled 'Subversion in the UDR' and written in 1973 by military intelligence,
estimated five to 15 per cent of UDR soldiers were linked to loyalists,
and that the 'best single source of weapons, and only significant source
of modern weapons, for Protestant extremist groups, has been the UDR'.
- A memo from a civil servant recording a meeting in September
1975 between Mr Wilson, Mrs Thatcher, and then Northern Secretary Merlyn
Rees, shed further light on the issue.
- It concluded that 'there were certain elements in the
police who were very close to the UVF, and who were prepared to hand over
information, for example, to Mr Paisley'. Meanwhile the com-yesterday called
for a full debate in the Dil and Seanad on the issue of British collusion.
- Margaret Irwin of victim group Justice for the Forgotten
said: 'I think the findings are absolutely brilliant and powerful. Nobody
could have asked for more and I want to congratulate the committee on doing
that.' But she went on to criticise the committee's failure to call immediately
for a public inquiry.
- Jeffrey Donaldson, a Democratic Unionist MP who served
in the UDR, last night attempted to defend the since-disbanded organisation
and the RUC.
- Although he accepted that rogue elements were involved
in atrocities such as the 1975 Miami Showband massacre, he insisted it
did not prove that systematic security-force plotting with the loyalists
- He said: 'There's no evidence that these individuals
were acting under the direction of anyone within the security forces.
- 'It could also be claimed that there's evidence of collusion
between security forces south of the border and the Provisional IRA. I
would say to the Irish Government, you should be very cautious about pointing
the finger at the security forces in Northern Ireland.' Comment - Page
- DUNDALK PUB BOMB HORROR
- SHORTLY after 6.15pm on Friday, December 19, 1975, a
car bomb containing 150lb of explosives was detonated without warning outside
a popular pub in the centre of Dundalk, Co. Louth.
- The explosion at Kay's Tavern resulted in the death of
two men and injured 21 people.
- Hugh Watters, a tailor, died instantly while lorry driver
Jack Rooney died three days later. Both men were in their 60s.
- Mr Watters was believed to be enjoying a drink after
work in the bar at the time of the explosion, Mr Rooney to have been walking
past the pub.
- Shortly after the incident, it was claimed the bomb was
planted by the outlawed 'Red Hand Commandos' - a branch of the paramilitary
Ulster Volunteer Force.
- Justice Henry Barron, the retired Irish judge who in
2003 published the Barron Report into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings,
had in 2001 requested the publication of a British bomb disposal expert's
report on the Kay's Tavern incident.
- The report was commissioned by the Justice for the Forgotten,
a Government-backed group for the victims of the Dublin-Monaghan Bombings.
It stated IRA methods of crystallisation for extracting nitrates when making
bombs were not learned by Loyalist groups until the end of the 1970s.
- Controls in 1973 on the nitrate content of fertiliser
had made the traditional method of mixing it with fuel oil impossible.
- The report found the bomb detonated at Kay's Tavern was
most likely made from explosives seized from the IRA. A second bomb which
exploded on the same day outside a bar in Silverbridge, Co.
- Armagh, killing three people, was found to contain similar
- The British bomb expert concluded that only five people,
all British soldiers, would have had access to both the seized explosives
and the Loyalist terror groups.
- No one was ever brought to justice over the atrocity
and after the publication of the Barron Report, victim Mr Watters' daughter
Margaret English accused the State of neglecting the victims' families.
- FARMER BLOWN UP OUTSIDE BAR
- PATRICK MONE, a 56-year-old farmer, was killed when a
loyalist bomb exploded in Co.
- Monaghan in March 7, 1976.
- He was standing outside the Three Star Inn in Castleblayney
when a car bomb went off without warning at 8.20pm. The 200lb bomb caused
severe damage to the street and many buildings had to be demolished.
- Mr Mone and his wife Anna had been married for six years.
She witnessed the horrific incident sitting in their car nearby.
- No one has ever been convicted for the crime. In January
1999 a former RUC sergeant, John Weir, claimed to have information that
the Castleblayney bombing was carried out by a fellow RUC officer and a
UDR officer. He said the explosives were provided by another UDR officer.
- JOHN Francis Hayes, a father of three, was killed in
a bombing at Dublin Airport on November 29, 1975. The 38-year-old from
Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, was in the toilet adjacent to a public bar.
- The UDA claimed responsibility, claiming it was 'retaliation
for the murder of members of the Security Forces by the PIRA'.
- In July Judge Barron said allegations of collusion between
the British forces and loyalists could not be proved.
- His wife Monica expressed her disappointment. 'We've
all been ignored. I had a threeyearold boy and 11-year-old twins and I
had to bring them up alone,' she said.
- FAMILIES KILLED IN THEIR HOMES
- THE Oireachtas committee's report looks into a number
of killings by loyalist gangs, including: Father of three Trevor Brecknell,
32, bar owner Patrick Donnelly, 24, and 14-year-old Michael Donnelly were
murdered in the gun and bomb attack on Donnelly's Bar in Silverbridge on
December 19, 1975.
- Mr Brecknell had just visited his new-born son in hospital
before the attack.
- Joe O'Dowd, 61, and his nephews Barry, 24, and Declan,
19, were shot dead in their home in Ballydougan, Co. Down, on January 4,
- Declan was due to return to work on an oil rig following
the Christmas holidays, and friends and family had gathered to see him
off, before UVF gunmen entered the house.
- After shooting Declan in the hallway, they entered the
sittingroom and opened fire.
- In a suspected coordinated attack, just 15 minutes later
- and 20 miles away - a UVF attack left three members of another family
dead. Brothers John Martin, 24, Anthony, 17, and Brian Reavey, 22, were
all shot dad in their home at White Cross, Co. Armagh.
- Six men armed with automatic weapons burst into the Reavey
home and shot John as he sat in a chair. They then opened fire with machineguns
on Anthony and Brian.
- Anthony survived the initial attack but died of his injuries
on January 30.
- Catholics Elizabeth McDonald, 38 and Gerard McCleenan
were killed in a loyalist bomb attack on the Step Inn in Keady, Co.
- Armagh, on August 16, 1976.
- SHOWBAND MASSACRED IN STAGE CLOTHES
- IT WAS an otherwise routine night of shuttling from gig
to gig for the Miami Showband, one of Ireland's most popular touring cabaret
bands of the Seventies.
- The band was returning from a gig in the Castle Ballroom
in Banbridge, Co.
- Down, on July 31, 1975 when their minibus was flagged
down on the outskirts of Newry in what appeared to be a routine military
- The Dublin group was travelling in two vehicles and was
making its way back to the Republic in the early hours of the morning.
- Road manager Brian Maguire was first on the road with
a van stocked with equipment while the second vehicle was driven by the
band's lead singer Fran O'Toole.
- He was joined by band members Tony Geraghty, Stephen
Travers and Des McAlea.
- The drummer, Ray Millar, had left in his own car and
was heading north to Antrim to spend the night at his parents' home.
- But on this occasion it was not a regular roadblock that
stopped the Miami Showband at 2.30am.
- Instead, a gang of UVF gunmen intended to frame the band
as members of the IRA by planting a bomb in their vehicle.
- Still in their stage clothes, the bandmates were ordered
to line up in a ditch near the roadblock.
- However, the bomb exploded prematurely, killing two UVF
members, Harris Boyle and Wesley Sommerville, in the process.
- The remaining gunmen opened fire on the band.
- Three bandmates - O'Toole, Geraghty and Brian McCoy -
died at the scene.
- Guitarist Stephen Travers and Des Lee survived the attack,
and the latter vowed never to return to Northern Ireland.
- The following year, three men from the Ulster Defence
Regiment were each jailed for 35 years in connection with the Miami Showband
- At the time, the judge said he would have imposed the
death penalty had it not been abolished.
- The soldiers were members of the outlawed UVF and received
the longest life sentences in Northern Ireland history.
- Rodney Shane McDowell, James Somerville and Thomas Raymond
Crozier remained in jail until they were released under the terms of the
Good Friday Agreement.
- Omagh families: we need inquiry
- FAMILIES of victims killed in the Omagh bombing called
on the Irish Government last night to launch a full cross-border public
inquiry into the atrocity.
- Survivors also attacked the publication of an edited
version of a report investigating claims by a garda that officers ignored
crucial intelligence which could have prevented the 1998 bombing.
- The Nally Report found the allegations by Detective Sergeant
John White were motivated solely by concerns about his own career.
- The families' spokesman Michael Gallagher said: 'The
families are deeply concerned by the timing of the censored report into
Garda intelligence and John White's allegations, in the light of court
proceedings involving John White.
- 'We believe this report is of limited value and now call
on the Government to hold a full cross-border public inquiry into the full
circumstances of the 1998 Omagh bombing.' The Real IRA attack on Omagh
on August 15, 1998, killed 29 people and injured around 300 others.
- The Nally Report concluded there was no foundation to
Det Sgt White's claims that a Real IRA informer told him in advance of
the 1998 attack about a car which was to be used in a bombing but that
on passing this warning on to a senior officer, it was never passed to
- 'Indeed it is clear from what he said to the group that
he made no allegation or mention whatever of his concerns to any person,
not even his wife, until after his arrest on 21 March, 2000,' it said.
- The report states that there was a direct connection
between the difficulties he found himself in with his superiors in the
force and the making of his allegations concerning the Omagh bombing.
- Meanwhile, Det Sgt White was challenged about the validity
of his health claims before the Morris tribunal yesterday.
- Det Sgt White has been suffering from acute depression
since the publication of three tribunal reports in August, and sought relief
from giving evidence on the grounds of illness.
- Paul Coffey SC, acting for the Tribunal, voiced doubts
- 'The Tribunal was told that the applicant was falling
asunder and would not be able to answer questions. However, we have seen
in the course of these court proceedings that Det Sgt White is giving specific
and detailed directions on his phone to his lawyers.
- 'This does not suggest he is in fact falling asunder
as he has led us to believe.'
- Copyright 2006 Daily Mail. Source: Financial Times Information
Limited - Europe Intelligence Wire.