On the 34th Anniversary of the La Mon House atrocity, when on 17th February 1978 the IRA bombed the suburban Belfast hotel with the loss of twelve lives and twenty three injured, some very seriously, victims remain scarred physically and emotionally. This situation has now been further exacerbated by a Historical Enquiry Team (HET) investigation which they believe fails completely to address fundamental issues associated with the bombing and in their opinion is lacking in both integrity and morality.
A number of the victims, supported by Councillor Michael Copeland and representatives from the Ulster Human Rights Watch, have been engaging with the HET for a period of over two years. However the long awaited published summary review report, although eighty one pages in length, has not revealed anything new except for some forensic details relating to the nature of the incendiary device that was used in the attack.
Far from reassuring victims and relatives that everything has been done to find out the truth and those responsible, the report raises very serious questions. It is most disturbing that the investigation of an attack described by the RUC as “horrifying and indiscriminate mass murder” has been hampered because key documentation has been mislaid. The HET did not provide any explanation whatsoever for the disappearance of the MIRIAM (Major Incident Room Indexing and Action Management) documentation used by the RUC. Nor has there been any attempt to explain why the original documentation, recorded by up to one hundred investigating detectives following the atrocity including details of interviews with IRA men questioned in the aftermath of the attack, was missing.
It would appear to the victims that key documents were removed from the files with the view to protecting IRA members who today may be involved in the peace process at the highest level. This case, in common with other major investigations, appears to show that the will to uncover the truth has been curtailed for fear of destabilising the current political process.
Considering the circumstances of this horrendous crime and the certainty of the involvement of the IRA, the victims are appalled by the absence of diligence shown by the RUC in ensuring the preservation of all information related to this investigation, and also calls into question the veracity of the whole Historical Enquiry process.
In order to find out the truth concerning those responsible for this atrocity, the victims are now calling for a full public enquiry into the La Mon House atrocity.
(Please see: Analysis of the Historical Enquiries Team Review Summary Report on the explosion at La Mon House published on this website in the Section for Submissions)