Questions remain over Dublin and Monaghan bombings - ArchbishopFriday, May 18th, 2012
At a Mass to commemorate those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin described the attacks as “uniquely brutal” and said the families of victims lived with the burden “of not knowing the full truth of what happened that day”.
The commemorative Mass to mark the 38th anniversary of the attacks was attended by relatives of the 34 people killed on 17 May 1974. The series of car bombings by loyalists also left 300 wounded.
The names of dead were called during the prayers for the faithful during the Mass at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.
On a busy May afternoon in 1974, three bombs exploded in Dublin during rush hour and left 27 dead, including an unborn baby. A fourth bomb exploded in Monaghan ninety minutes later killing seven people. No warnings were given ahead of any of the explosions and no-one has ever been charged with the attacks.
In his homily, Archbishop Martin addressed the relatives of the dead saying, “You come together to remember in horror a uniquely brutal act. But you also come together to remember each of those who died.”
Referring to the calling out of the names of the dead, the Archbishop said what they remembered was not a list but “concrete, loving, good people who brought much happiness and hope and goodness” into their lives.
He acknowledged that they still had questions such as ‘why did this happen?’ and added, “Sadly you remain with the burden of not knowing the full truth of what happened on that day. Hurt and pain remain in your hearts.”
The bombings caused the highest number of casualties in any one day during the Troubles.
In 1993, the Ulster Volunteer Force claimed responsibility for the bombings. Allegations of collusion between elements of the British security forces and the UVF in the bombings have never satisfactorily been answered. However, both the British Government and the UVF have always denied these allegations.
In May 1974, Archbishop Martin was living abroad. He told relatives of the victims on Thursday that he remembered his “shock” at what had happened. “I can only imagine the horror and the panic that struck both Dublin and Monaghan and the fear that was engendered by those events”, he commented.
The Primate of Ireland said the shock of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings had been part of their lives for 38 years now. “The pain is still with you. The pain has affected and still affects other dear ones also. I can only imagine what is going on in each of your hearts here today as you remember.”
Archbishop Martin said there was no greater tribute to the dead than the fact that families and friends “still come together each year in peace and prayerfulness”.
He said the brutality of those who take lives is overcome and healing begins when those who survive react in love, “as you do when you come together in loving support of each other. Each of you have your own memories, but you also come together to bear each others' burden.”
The Archbishop said their prayer was that Ireland’s young hearts would be ones that wish to build a future not on violence but on trust and fidelity and truth.
“Our nation and its people – and indeed our Church – will always need men and women of integrity who feel themselves called to build a society which respects lives in all its dimensions; a society in which as a community we build together a future not based on taking lives or impoverishing lives in any way, but on enhancing lives and offering a vision of hope for the future”, he said in his homily.
He concluded his address by saying that the responsibility of those who have experienced in their depths of their own being the effects of violence was to help us all remember and to recall.
“That does not mean just looking back, but challenging us all to work for the good, so that our future will be a place where all can hope and dream and reach fulfilment”, he said.
Meanwhile, wreaths were also laid on Thursday at a memorial on Talbot Street in Dublin in remembrance of all who lost their lives in the bombings.
By Sarah Mac Donald