"The Nineteenth century saw a great Springtime of Nations as the revolutions of 1848 saw new countries created the length and breadth of Europe. In our world today we are now seeing our own Spring Awakening with people and cultures that have long been dormant and subdued asserting their right to exist, their right to dream." Adam Price MP
Yesterday this blog questioned the Taoiseach about his meeting on Monday with the British Prime Minister and asked him whether he had raised the Dublin Monaghan Bombings in which 34 Irish citizens were killed and hundreds more injured?
Specifically I asked the Taoiseach if he had raised directly with the British Prime Minister the Dáil request from July 2008 for the British government to hand over all files and other information in relation to the bomb attacks on May 17th 1974 and other atrocities inquired into by Justice Barron and for these files to be opened to independent, international scrutiny.
The Taoiseach was evasive in his response. But the only conclusion to be drawn from what he said is that he didn’t.
This failure to act in Irish national interests or in the interests of Irish citizens is characteristic of the submissive attitude of Irish governments to British governments over the years.
The colonization and occupation of Ireland over many centuries by Britain has left a bitter legacy. Part of this is an inability on the part of Irish governments to stand up for Irish interests when dealing with British governments.
The Taoiseach described the relationship between the two states as one based on mutual respect and trust.
How much respect has a British government for an Irish government and for Ireland when it hides the truth of its involvement in collusion and murder, and refuses to hand over vital information on this issue?
How much self-respect does an Irish government have if it refuses to challenge that British government?
The citizens who died in the Dublin Monaghan bombings were not the first to die as a result of collusion, nor the last.
Five years ago an Independent International Panel on Collusion into Sectarian Killings produced a detailed 109-page report. It followed a careful examination of 25 cases of unionist paramilitary violence between 1972 and 1977 in which 76 people were killed. The Panel found that in 24 cases involving 74 killings there was evidence of RUC and UDR collusion.
This included the Dublin Monaghan bombs and the bomb attack in December 1975 in which two Dundalk men Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters were killed.
The report revealed that the British Government knew of the collusion between the RUC, British army and unionist death squads as far back as the early 1970s.
Sometimes official state forces donned masks and carried out the killings themselves. At other times they simply passed the weaponry, know how and information onto surrogate unionist paramilitaries.
Launching the report in 2006 Douglas Cassel, a human rights professor from the American University of Notre Dame, said he had been shocked at the extent of state collusion in the killings the team had investigated.
The panel had found evidence of collusion with British state forces, primarily the RUC and UDR in 24 of the 25 cases they examined. In most cases the evidence was extremely strong. In some cases they concluded that there was “a prime facia case”.
After the killings came the cover up. Cover up involved state forces covering up their own crimes and the crimes of others, hiding weaponry, failing to pursue investigations and refusing to prosecute despite overwhelming evidence.
In one case, Robin Jackson, a notorious unionist gunman, was identified by the widow of one of his victims but the charges against him were subsequently dropped by order of the DPP. Jackson was later exposed as a Special Branch agent.
The cases investigated included car bombings, grenade attacks and shootings including mass killings as in the Miami Showband attack.
In addition to the activities of the Glenanne Gang British agents, like Brian Nelson, helped procure weapons through Apartheid South African connections in 1988.
These weapons were secured for the use of three unionist paramilitary organisations the UDA, UVF and Ulster Resistance.
The first two have according to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning have got rid of their weapons. Ulster Resistance has not.
The importation of these weapons with the help of British intelligence led to a dramatic increase in murders by unionist death squads.
In the six years before the arrival of the South African weapons from January 1982 to December 1987 unionist murder gangs killed 71 people. In the six years after the arrival of the arms shipment that number had risen to 229.
The unionist death squads were assisted in all of this by RUC Special Branch and British agencies like FRU and British Military Intelligence and the British Security Services.
Among those murdered were human rights lawyer Pat Finucane. Special Branch and British intelligence agents were involved in every part of his murder, including providing the information, the weapons, carrying out the murder and giving the order.
Over the decades of conflict thousands of files and photos of nationalists and republicans were passed over to unionist death squads, commonly from within the UDR and frequently proper investigations of sectarian murders were not carried out by the RUC.
In 2001 a Commission of Inquiry under Mr. Justice Henry Barron was established by the Irish Government in 2001. Four reports were published and a Sub-Committee of the cross-party Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights conducted an extensive examination of the reports.
The Sub-Committee concluded “that given that we are dealing with acts of international terrorism that were colluded in by the British security forces, the British Government cannot legitimately refuse to co-operate with investigations and attempts to get to the truth.”
Despite this hard hitting conclusion and the mountain of evidence available no Irish government has pursued this issue vigorously.
Enda Kenny promised a different kind of government from Fianna Fáil but if his meeting in Downing Street is an example of how he does business it would appear to be the same old story.