Police Ombudsman examines 1975 Dundalk bomb collusion claims

Dr Michael Maguire Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire is to examine the original RUC investigation into the fatal loyalist attack almost 40 years ago

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The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland is to investigate claims police in Northern Ireland were involved in a 1975 bomb in the Republic of Ireland.

Two men in their 60s died when a loyalist paramilitary car bomb exploded outside a pub in Dundalk, County Louth, on 19 December 1975.

The campaign group, Justice for the Forgotten, has alleged collusion by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

The ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, will examine the original RUC investigation.

The bombing outside Kay's Tavern on Crowe Street, Dundalk, was blamed on the Red Hand Commando, a loyalist paramilitary group affiliated to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Hugh Watters, 60, died on the day of the bombing and 61-year-old Jack Rooney died from his injuries three days later.

'Planning and planting'

The attack took place outside the the RUC's jurisdiction, but Margaret Urwin from Justice for the Forgotten has alleged that everything that led up to the bombing, with the exception of planting the device, happened in Northern Ireland.

Ms Urwin said that her campaign group submitted a complaint to the ombudsman claiming that the RUC did not carry out a proper investigation and also, that some RUC officers were involved "in the planning and planting of the bomb".

Justice for the Forgotten was set up 18 years ago to campaign on behalf of relatives of victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974.

Their loved ones died in one of the worst days of the Troubles, when four car bombs exploded within 90 minutes in the Irish capital and in Monaghan town.

'Glenanne gang'

A total of 34 people were killed and the death toll from both areas represented the greatest loss of life in a single day of the Troubles.

Ms Urwin said the Dundalk explosion is the third bomb attack in the Republic of Ireland that they have submitted to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland for investigation.

Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland sign The ombudsman's spokesman said the investigation "will begin in the latter stages of 2014"

The group's other two complaints relate to allegations of RUC collusion in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and a complaint about the RUC's handling of an attempted UVF pub bombing in central Dublin in 1994.

Members of the loyalist group attempted to carry a bomb into the Widow Scallan's pub in Dublin's Pearse Street on 21 May 1994, but were challenged by a doorman.

The UVF gang shot the doorman and he died later in hospital.

A spokesman for the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland said the Dundalk bomb complaint and the Dublin and Monaghan bombings complaint would be investigated as part of the 'Glenanne series' of attacks.

The name refers to an alleged UVF gang based at a farm at Glenanne, County Armagh. The gang has been accused of carrying out 120 murders on both sides of the Irish border during the early 1970s.

The ombudsman's spokesman said the investigation "will begin in the latter stages of 2014".

He added that the Widow Scallan's pub attack complaint was "within our investigative process" but said no date has yet been set for an investigation to begin.

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