Written Answers. - Air Crash Inquiry.

Tuesday, 17 December 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 473 No. 1

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  356.  Mr. H. Byrne  Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne   asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications  Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes   if his attention has been drawn to the continuing unrest amongst the families of the 61 victims of the air crash on 24 March 1968 of the St. Phelim en-route from Cork to London and the anxiety amongst the general public here and abroad at the failure of the inquiry to provide any satisfactory answers; his views on whether this inept inquiry opened the floodgate for rumour and conspiracy theory; if, in view of the new evidence provided to his Department, that there was a malfunction of the Aberporth missile firing range at that time and that log books recording activities in the area at that time were lost, his views on whether it is time for an open and frank inquiry to be held with full access to all Department of Defence files, Aer Lingus files, Department of Transport, Energy and Communications files and all witnesses who claim they saw the explosion and those who were employed to salvage the wreckage to be called to such an inquiry; if he will initiate such an inquiry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24579/96]

Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications (Mr. Dukes): Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  The Deputy is aware, I am sure, of the inquiry carried out by my Department into this tragic accident, the report of which was published in 1970. I reject the Deputy's decription of that inquiry as inept. It was the most exhaustive and prolonged aircraft accident investigation ever undertaken in this State and it was carried out professionally and thoroughly.

I refer the Deputy to the response given by my predecessor to him on 25 July, 1996 on this issue.

I have to inform the Deputy that there is no new evidence available to me at this time which would merit an inquiry of the nature outlined by him.

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