Pegeen O'Sullivan reviews Two Little Boys by Edward O'Neill with Barry J White, Currach Press €14.99/£9.99 pbk, ISBN 1856079090
TWO LITTLE Boys is an account of the bombing of Dublin and Monaghan in 1974.
The fact one of the authors witnessed the explosion in Dublin in his infancy and movingly shares with the reader the immediate shock of the event and its long-term effects on the the families of the victims gives the account a special slant and value.
While any account of these two atrocities and the obfuscation of governments is to be welcomed, I must admit that I found the book rather diffuse. If only the consecutive account of the event had come at the beginning of the book instead of at the end it would have been clearer.
The greatest anger in this book is levelled at the Irish government's lack of energy in demanding an enquiry immediately after the bombings. The book is also scathing about the "exchanges of information between the Guards and the RUC" and the indifference of the Guards to the interests of the population they are paid to serve and protect.
As happens not infrequently, people who have "turned" from one loyalty to another have revealed the most. Here. it is the ex-RUC man John Weir and the ex-soldier who exposed the Kincora Boys' Home scandal and rivalries between MI5 and MI6, Colin Wallace.
It comes as a shock that the explosives used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombs were made in the Irish Industrial Explosives Factory at Clonagh in the Republic of Ireland.
In December 2003, Phoenix magazine drew attention to perhaps the most sinister act of obfuscation - the enormous destruction of documents on the bombings. By way of contrast, 19th century RIC intelligence on the Fenians remains extant.
In spite of both governments' efforts to stifle the truth much has come out over the years, All honour to O'Neill and Whyte for their persistence in digging it out and making connections between the strands.
Connolly Publications Ltd, 244 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8JR
Copyright © 2004 Pegeen O'Sullivan