Remarks on the Commemoration of the 49th Anniversary of the Dublin Monaghan Bombings
Speech18 May 2023
Tánaiste Micheál Martin:
Lord Mayor, colleagues; survivors; relatives and friends of the deceased.
Much has changed in this city and in this country over the last 49 years. The country is a better place now.
While we still have challenges, our young people have so much to look forward to.
But, as we look forward, it is essential that we not lose sight of the tragedies of the past, especially those that continue to cast a long shadow today.
That shadow is cast by losses that are still so keenly felt. And grief that runs deep in the unresolved search for truth and justice.
We remember that summer afternoon in 1974 – the weekend was fast approaching and shoppers and workers rushed to finish up for the week, to catch a lift home or meet up with friends.
It was Friday rush hour in Dublin City.
As trains arrived and departed a busy Connolly Station, Clery’s clock rang out the hour.
With no warning, within minutes, three bombs rang out across the city.
26 innocent people were killed and many more seriously injured.
When Clery’s clock chimed again the city had changed, the country had changed, and many lives had profoundly changed forever.
Just before seven o’clock on the busy North Road in Monaghan, as people made their way home after a hard week’s work, an explosion outside Greacen's pub killed another 7 people.
Within 90 minutes, 33 lives across this island were stolen.
This is a difficult day for all of you. Despite the passage of time, the wounds of loss can never fully heal.
Nearly five decades have passed and today, on behalf of the Government, I want to assure you that those who died on that day, those you loved, will never be forgotten.
This Government remains committed to finding truth and justice.
I want to acknowledge the important work of Jon Boutcher and his team on Operation Denton.
Their work highlights the need for adequate mechanisms for finding truth and justice to remain in place.
Frankly, the mechanisms we do have are threatened by the British Government’s Northern Ireland Troubles Bill, currently before the House of Lords.
A Bill that is universally opposed by all political parties on this island. I have been clear in my opposition to the Bill. It is not fit for purpose as it stands.
I will continue to press the British Government to pause the progress of this Bill and come back to table, to find a shared way forward, centred on victims and on human rights.
I want to commend the bravery and courage of all of those that have recounted the traumatising and horrific events of that day to Jon and his team.
It cannot have been easy to recall the feelings of loss and shock of forty-nine years ago.
The Government are acutely aware that the legacy of the ‘Troubles’ crosses generations.
This is one reason that these issues remain central to our engagement with the British Government.
We have consistently raised the case of the Dublin Monaghan bombings at the highest levels with the British Government - highlighting the three Motions passed in the Dáil with the unanimous support of all political parties.
I raised this again yesterday with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
On a personal level, I want to say that this commemoration is important to me. I have endeavoured to show my support and solidarity over the years and I will continue to do so.
Thank you for inviting me to lay a wreath on behalf of the Government and to be part of today’s moving ceremony.
Thank you to Justice for the Forgotten, our Reconciliation Fund partners.
The support you provide to victims and survivors affected by the bombings in Dublin, Monaghan, Belturbet, Dundalk and Castleblaney, and the Miami Showband massacre is invaluable.
I want to pay tribute especially to the family and friends of those killed and to the survivors of the bombings; for your strength, and for your absolute commitment to finding the truth of what happened that day.
You are not forgotten. You are not invisible.
My Government stands firmly in solidarity with you.
This year as we mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government remain cognisant of the work that still remains to be completed.
We remain committed to honouring the memory of the innocent victims of the Dublin Monaghan bombings by finding the truth of what happened for all those affected.