24 May 2024 No Comments by The Northern Standard


Flower petals, poetry and prayer, quietude and plaintive music and song interwove with words to fashion a poignant tribute to those who died and those who suffered, those still suffering trauma and lack of closure, from the bombing of Monaghan Town in 1974. At the precise moment 50 years before when the detonation of a car bomb stopped the heartbeat of the town, Church Square fell silent at 6.58 pm on Friday evening last to the more gentle sound of church bells. Silence descended too after President Michael D Higgins made his way to the memorial to the seven people killed in Monaghan to lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland.

The names of the Monaghan victims – Peggy White (44), Belgium Park; Tommy Campbell (52), Crumlin; George Williamson (73), Castleshane; Jack Travers (29), Park Street; Archie Harper (73), Rockcorry; Paddy Askin (44), Donagh and Thomas Croarkin (36), Killyneill – registered in the memories of many in the crowd gathered in the town centre when they, along with the names of the 27 people who died in the Dublin car bombs earlier in the same day, were read by Sharon Askin. The presence of President Higgins and his wife Sabina at the commemoration organised by the Justice for the Forgotten campaign group and Monaghan Co Council manifested the solidarity with the victims and their relatives that he had voiced earlier in the day at the Dublin remembrance events.

“Like the families of so many other victims and survivors of the Northern Ireland conflict, so many of you here today have been trying to find answers about what happened,” the President said in Talbot Street. He also remarked: “It is not only a matter of the most profound regret, it is unacceptable in terms of justice that no one group or institution has been made accountable for these atrocities. The manifest failure of both the British and Irish governments to initiate suitable responses in the aftermath of the attacks has left a legacy that cannot be left unaddressed. “I share with the relatives gathered, or represented, here their feeling of being abandoned and failed by the system, of their being denied justice for the loss of loved ones.”

The President’s sentiments were echoed by several of Friday’s speakers. Monaghan Co Council Cathaoirleach Councillor David Maxwell called for the “wall of silence” that had been erected around the truth of the May 17 1974 attacks on Dublin and Monaghan at the height of the Troubles to be torn down. Monaghan Municipal District Cathaoirleach Councillor Cathy Bennett said: “Only the truth will dispel the clouds that have hung…

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