TD Pearse Doherty has been made a plea to the State to apologise for the circumstances surrounding the Ballymanus mine tragedy which left 18 people dead.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he would “reflect” on the issue. He said, however, that it was “questionable” whether it would be practical to inquire if anything more should have been done to prevent the deaths so many years after then 1943 event.
Pearse Doherty told TDs that gardaí knew about the WW2 mine three hours before it exploded as locals tried to haul it ashore.
He said documents showed there was “hostility against the local sergeant who apparently has been unpopular in the area for a long time and who was of course guilty of grave neglect of duty in this matter”.
Mr Doherty asked the Minister to be “open-minded” on the issue.
Mr Shatter said the mine was reported to gardaí at Annagry and a local marine service lieutenant went to Ballymanus strand, waited until the mine came ashore and “warned a group of men who were present on the strand to stay away”.
The lieutenant said the reaction of some of the people towards him was “almost hostile”. Some of those present hauled the mine onto the beach and attempted to unscrew portions of it, when it exploded.
Mr Shatter admitted that there had been “no attempt was made to cordon off the area” but said he would reflect on the issue and it was “important not to forget such events.”Tags: