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1 PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE BARRON REPORT AFTERNOON SESSION Chairman: I welcome to the hearings Lieutenant Colonel Rory Kelleher and Colonel Joseph O'Sullivan. I understand Colonel O'Sullivan is director of the ordinance corps with overall responsibility for the EOD, explosive ordinance division - is it? Colonel Joseph O'Sullivan: Explosives ordinance disposal, bombing disposal in simple terms. Chairman: You assisted Judge Henry Barron in his inquiry. Colonel O'Sullivan: I did. Chairman: You are very welcome, as is Lieutenant Colonel Rory Kelleher who I thank, in particular, for coming such a distance. Your presence is very important to us. I know that you are currently on secondment to the OSCE where you are performing a very valuable role. You have facilitated the committee very much by coming here. I thank you for this. You are very welcome. Before we start, I am obliged to tell you that the members of the committee have parliamentary privilege in regard to anything they may say but that same privilege does not attach to you. You may have ordinary privilege which I hope will not be needed. As I know that Colonel Kelleher was present at the bombings, I ask him to say briefly what he might wish to say. We will then have questions from the members. 2 Lieutenant Colonel Rory Kelleher: The day after the bombs went off, I was contacted and called in. By the time I got into Clancy Barracks, the control centre for the problem, two of my fellow officers had already gone into town to do their work. I was asked to carry out an analysis or guesstimate of the quantity of explosives used. That was my function on the day, to go to the three sites in Dublin and make an estimate of the quantity of explosives used. Chairman: Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher. We will have questions. If there are other matters that you feel need to be addressed, please raise them later. Senator J. Walsh: I thank the Lieutenant Colonel for attending. On the quantities he estimated, Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher stated in his letter to the sub- committee that the Barron report fairly accurately reflected the information he provided. Is that correct? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: That is so. Senator J. Walsh: He referred us to page 66 of the report - actually it is on page 67. He estimated that there were approximately 50 lbs of explosives used in the South Leinster Street. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The paragraph started on the previous page and that is why I stated that page. Senator J. Walsh: I understand that. 3 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, that is my estimate. Chairman: To what page are you referring, Senator? Senator J. Walsh: Page 67 of the Barron report. The Lieutenant Colonel estimated there were 150 lbs of explosive in the Talbot Street bomb and 100 lbs of explosives in the Parnell Street bomb. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Senator J. Walsh: That accords with Mr. Justice Barron's report on page 245 where he stated that according EOD officers, 300 lbs of commercial explosive would have been needed if it were the sole ingredient used. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. I will explain how I arrived at those figures. We have a table----- Senator J. Walsh: TNT table. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: ----- a TNT table, which I think is in the possession of Mr. Justice Barron, which allows us to estimate. It is based on the distance of broken glass. So much, say, 100 lbs of explosives breaks glass at, say, 300 metres. Therefore you can extrapolate with higher or lower figures and determine the poundage from the longest distance at which glass is broken. This was the method I used. This would be for bulk TNT which was uncontained, in other words, in a box or something like that. From looking at the holes in the ground, I made an estimate based on those figures and of course walking the 4 distance to the limit of the broken glass. That is how I made an estimate of these figures. Senator J. Walsh: That 300 lbs would have been pure explosives such as gelignite, is that correct? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: In my statement? Senator J. Walsh: No, in the estimate. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: My estimate was that this would have been equivalent to 300 lbs of bulk explosive. I was not in a position to determine whether there was bulk explosive plus home-made explosive or if there was a mix, the percentage of the mix. Obviously the use of home-made explosives deteriorates the power of commercial explosive. Senator J. Walsh: Yes, but I think Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher's conclusion was that it was mostly commercial explosive, is that correct? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: That was my conclusion, yes, because of the sharpness of the craters in the ground. The crater on Nassau Street, the one I can remember particularly, was quite sharp. It was a very well constructed road and one could see that it had been a massive explosion. Senator J. Walsh: When Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher says commercial explosives, what is he talking about - gelignite, dynamite? 5 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Any one of them. TNT is equivalent to a commercial explosive. Senator J. Walsh: Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher is not talking about ANFO. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. Senator J. Walsh: Is the ratio four to one? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I only heard that figure for the first time today. I had never heard it before even though I have done courses in England and was an instructor in the ordinance school for years. I did not hear that figure until today and cannot comment on it. I gather it has been given in evidence by someone else. Senator J. Walsh: The Lieutenant Colonel's information would be that the bomb consisted primarily of commercial explosive. Would he therefore discount the possibility that it was made up primarily of ANFO and some small explosives used as the booster to detonate? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I would not be in a position to determine the make up of the mix. I felt there was a mix of ANFO and commercial explosive, but I would not be in a position to determine that. Senator J. Walsh: On page 67 of his report, Mr. Justice Barron says that the Lieutenant Colonel's estimate for South Leinster Street was 50 lbs of explosives, 6 with the explosive material containing a very high percentage of commercial explosives. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Senator J. Walsh: That seems at variance with a thesis that one would use ANFO where one would use a very small percentage of explosives in order to create the detonation. Would that be correct? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The 50 lbs of explosives is quite a small quantity in our terms. It can do quite a lot of destruction. Given the shape of the crater, I felt there was a high percentage of commercial explosive. There was a certain sharpness about it. Senator J. Walsh: Which would not have been the same----- Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: ANFO would not be as powerful as an explosive. The Senator has already quoted a figure to suggest that it may be 25% as powerful as TNT. That was the one to four ratio referred to. One would not expect the same sharpness with a less powerful bomb, definitely not with one that is only 25% as powerful as TNT. Senator J. Walsh: I find that at variance with Mr. Justice Barron's findings, which effectively would be that ANFO was used primarily and that there was a small quantum of explosives in order to assist the detonation. Am I correct in that? 7 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The South Leinster Street bomb was the smallest, so my estimate there was for the smallest quantity. It could be argued that a higher quantity of commercial explosive would be put in to ensure the propagation of the damage in that one, whereas the other bombs contained larger quantities of total explosive mixture. It might have been felt that the same quantity of commercial explosive was needed to get the effect. Senator J. Walsh: Is what the Lieutenant Colonel saying to us consistent with the use of ANFO as well as some explosives to boost or assist the detonation? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, my interpretation of the site was that there was a mixture of commercial explosive and ANFO, or home-made explosive. Senator J. Walsh: Is the Lieutenant Colonel familiar with the evidence given by Mr. Wylde in connection with the photographs and their interpretation? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, I have read that in the Barron report. Senator J. Walsh: Does the Lieutenant Colonel have any expertise in that area? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. Senator J. Walsh: Does he have any expertise in the area of detonators? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, I would have worked with detonators. 8 Senator J. Walsh: What would his findings have been with regard to the type of detonation that was used? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Colonel O'Sullivan has submitted a paper which provides a certain number of definitions. We look upon two types of explosives - high explosive and low explosive. An example of a low explosive would be something like gunpowder and an example of high explosive would be TNT or nitroglycerin-based explosives. A detonator is not needed for a low explosive. It is different concept in terms of explosion. The detonators would only have been associated with the use of a high explosive, which would be ANFO or commercial high explosive. Senator J. Walsh: So the detonators would have been used in all the Dublin bombings? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, they would not have initiated otherwise. Senator J. Walsh: What type would it have been, the TPU or SNA? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The TPU is the light switch, if one wants to call it that. The clock closes, and the power unit then would be the battery, which would energise the electrical element - like the element in an electric fire - in the electric detonator. Senator J. Walsh: What were the Lieutenant Colonel's findings with regard to what was likely to have been used, or did he come to any conclusion in that regard? 9 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I am afraid I would have come to no conclusions. I would have assumed that it was an electric initiation on the basis that it is much easier to control the timing. With a non-electric method timing would not have the same level of accuracy. Senator J. Walsh: Can the Lieutenant Colonel explain what he means when distinguishing between electric and non-electric? The report seems to indicate that the probability was that some form of hour clock was used and that the hour hand was used to prime. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, that would be a standard, old fashioned alarm clock. Basically, an electric detonator is as I described. It contains a little element that sits into high explosive. When an electric current is passed through it the element heats up and the explosi ve, which is sensitive to heat, detonates the main charge. With the non-electric, one uses a slightly different system. It is basically a flash or spark. A burning fuse is inserted into the detonator, and when it burns through it gives out a little flas h or spark, to which the composition operating inside the detonator is sensitive. One is a heating mechanism and the other is a flash or spark. Senator J. Walsh: The Lieutenant Colonel is not drawing any conclusions as to which was likely to have been used in these instances? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No, but for better control one would definitely use a timing system, which would be an electrical system consisting of a clock, wrist watch or other similar electronic device. 10 Senator J. Walsh: Given that three bombs exploded within, I think, 90 seconds of each other and that one is working on an hourly clock, what level of skill would be required to set the clock and complete that type of synchronisation? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No great level of skill would be required to set a clock. One would probably have a pin sticking up, with the minute hand sweeping around and touching it. That is basically all we are talking about. The pin would be put, to take an example, somewhere around 12 o'clock, and the minute hand would swing around make contact with that pin, thereby closing the circuit. That would not require any great difficulty. Senator J. Walsh: There was some comment on the time it took for the Army to get to the actual locations on the day. Can the Lieutenant Colonel comment on that? He was based in Dublin, is that correct? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, I live----- Senator J. Walsh: How long did it take him to get there? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I live on the south side. On the day I was not in my house. The telephone call came to my house but I was not contactable because while the telephone rang where I was nobody would answer it. My wife had to get a neighbour to come down and get me. I had the car and drove into the barracks. It was at least an hour after the incident by the time I started to move towards Clancy Barracks, which was the control centre on the day. I would then 11 have got a team, who would have been called in also, and we would have proceeded down town. Senator J. Walsh: Therefore, there were a few hours involved. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: There were, yes. Senator J. Walsh: There was evidence given to us that the chances of individuals recognising what was on the ground were very remote, even if some particles had been there to indicate what type of bomb had been used in the first instance, probably because there would not have been any familiarity with, say, an ANFO based bomb. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: This was 1974. We would have worked with ANFO material for a number of years before that. The other two officers and I would have been quite familiar with ANFO material. We would have come across it, either in finds in realistic situations or as shown to us on a refresher course. We would have been familiar with it. Senator J. Walsh: If there had been any evidence of ANFO at that time, you would have accepted it. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Senator J. Walsh: Had the site been washed when you arrived? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Had it been washed? 12 Senator J. Walsh: Yes, had it been washed away? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: At one of the sites I think there had been a burst pipe, so that would have washed material away. I honestly cannot remember which site that was. Senator J. Walsh: The fire brigade was there also and would have been putting out fires in certain places. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The fire brigade, of course, would have been there. I can remember that one of the parts of the vehicles still seemed to be - I will not say smoking - steaming an hour and a half or two hours later. The fire brigade would have been called in to wash. Senator J. Walsh: Did you attend any of the bombing sites in 1972 or 1973? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: In 1972. Senator J. Walsh: At Sackville Place or at any of the other ones that occurred around that time. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. Senator J. Walsh: Was that the first bomb site you had seen? 13 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: That was the first one I had seen. Previous to that I would have seen, or been involved with, a police find of ammonium nitrate based home-made explosive. Senator J. Walsh: Did you have any knowledge of, or acquaintance or contact with, Lieutenant Colonel George Styles in Northern Ireland? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. I have read his book. Senator J. Walsh: Therefore, you cannot comment on that. There was evidence given that, depending on the quality of the mixture, an explosion can detonate at over 4,000 metres a second, or over 6,000 metres a second if it is commercially produced. Did you draw any conclusions from that evidence or did you, in fact, look at the site to see how it would compare with that evidence? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Those two figures of 4,000 metres a second and 6,000 metres a second are in the area in which high explosive detonates - it goes up to about 9,000 metres a second. It would be impossible to tell the speed of detonation from looking at a site. All you could say is that the sharpness of the edge of the crater would give you an idea that it was nearer the top end of the scale than the bottom end of the scale. Senator J. Walsh: When you say the top end----- Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: That would be where it would be almost 100% pure military or commercial explosive - up around 8,000 metres or 9,000 metres a second. 14 Senator J. Walsh: Where did you rate this one? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I rated this one in the middle of the scale, in other words, I would have felt that the commercial high explosive had been contaminated with home-made explosive, which would have reduced the power of the explosive. Senator J. Walsh: Would you like to comment - maybe you do not have any knowledge or expertise in this area - on the source of the materials? If you are inconclusive on whether the explosive used was wholly commercial or partially commercial, or whether ANFO was used or not, it will obviously be difficult to answer this question. Let me put it another way. Did you look at any other bombings in the State with a similarity to this one? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. Senator J. Walsh: It would be difficult for you to come to a conclusion on anything to do with the source of the material or anything like that. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: This would have been outside my competence. If I had come across a similar one, yes, I could have said that it seemed to have been made by the same hand or person. Outside of that, I would not be competent. Senator J. Walsh: Just to summarise, you would say the materials used in the explosion could have been wholly commercial or a combination of commercial and 15 ANFO but that there would have been a higher proportion of commercial than might normally have been associated with a typical ANFO-type bomb. Is that correct? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. To amplify a little, to enhance the effect of the ANFO they would have had to use a certain quantity of commercial high explosive. Otherwise one would not get as an good effect. Deputy Costello: I welcome Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher and Colonel O'Sullivan. Senator Walsh has gone through a lot of the areas covered. Mr. Justice Barron referred to your expertise, evidence etc. I would like to tease out one or two of them. You arrived first at South Leinster Street approximately two hours after the explosion. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, I would accept that. Deputy Costello: You then went next Talbot Street, in a geographical fashion, and finally Parnell Street. How long would you have spent at South Leinster Street? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I would say something in the order of 20 minutes. Deputy Costello: At that time you knew about the bombing on Talbot Street, about the three of them. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, I knew about the three explosions. 16 Deputy Costello: I understand there was a second team on standby which was not called out. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, we had two teams deployed initially. They had done their bit and, as I say, I was subsequently sent out, probably 30 to 40 minutes after they had gone out, to do a different task. Their job would have been to declare the place safe for the police to continue taking forensic samples or for the roads in the area to be used again, that there was no hazard. My job was to examine the craters and try to make an estimate of the quantity of explosives used. Deputy Costello: You would have been at the first site around two hours later and at the second site two and a half hours later. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Deputy Costello: And the third site. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Three hours approximately. Deputy Costello: Detective Sergeant Ó Fiacháin was also at the South Leinster Street site shortly afterwards, as we know from his information on page 64 of the Barron report. We are also told in the Barron report that the fire brigade was on the scene within minutes of the South Leinster Street fire and hosed down the blaze with water. Clearly, the fire brigade would have hosed the scene prior to your arrival at the first site. 17 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: That would be correct. I can remember water in the area of at least one of the sites but I cannot be sure on the other ones. Deputy Costello: That seems to indicate that a substantial quantity of water would have been directed onto the debris. Would that be sufficient to remove the residues that might otherwise have been apparent, or should they still have been there? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I would think that the power of a fire brigade hose delivering a large quantity of water would remove a lot of evidence of a forensic nature. All that might have been left behind is carbonised material that would have adhered to some metallic surface or something like that. I would accept that the fire brigade hose pipes would have eliminated or removed to a distance most of the residue that might have been of value. Deputy Costello: That would seem to support Mr. Wylde's claim, in page 3 of his statement, that no residues might have been found. The reasons no residues might have been found would include, in the case of ANFO, the use of water hoses by firemen. If ANFO was there, is there a possibility that it was removed by the hoses? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: If there were residues of anything there, I think they would have been removed by the power of a fire brigade hose. Deputy Costello: But ANFO, in particular, would have disintegrated. Is it not true that the ammonium nitrate disintegrated very quickly and disappeared from the scene? 18 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: If there was anything of a particular nature, I think it would have been blasted away by the power of a fire brigade hose. Deputy Costello: Page 69 of the Barron report contains the assertion of Mr. Hall in Belfast that anything for laboratory examination really had to be received within six hours for the results to be accurate. Is that a reasonable assessment of the time-frame in which material must be examined in a forensic laboratory? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I would not be competent to comment on that. Mr. Hall has probably a Ph.D. in chemistry or forensic science. I would not approach that level of knowledge so it would be unfair to comment. Deputy Costello: Would information have be circulating at the time within the Army explosives disposal unit that if you did not get the material from the scene of a bombing very quickly, it was not much use? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. Part of our task - the third or fourth element - would have been to preserve evidence that could be used in a forensic analysis and give that to the Garda. Really we would not have known how long it took them to process it to the next stage. I was definitely not aware that there was a time scale involved. Deputy Costello: Was the other officer, Captain Patrick Trears, with Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher at the time? 19 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. Captain Trears and Captain John Fahy were the first two operators who went out; I followed them. They were there before me. They had probably gone back to barracks because the task had moved on and was now into the area of trying to find out how much explosive had been used. It was now a police matter in that we had declared the area safe and forensic evidence was being collected. Deputy Costello: Did Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher atte mpt to get any forensic samples? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. Deputy Costello: Commandant Trears stated to Mr. Justice Barron, according to page 68 of the report, "that no timing devices, unexploded bomb portions or explosive residue were found at any of the Dublin sites." While Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher did not take samples, obviously an intensive search was done by the EOD as well as the Garda. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: We would have looked very severely at the area around the site to see if there was anything that we considered might be of forensic interest. Deputy Costello: I take it that no evidence of ANFO was discovered and there was no sign of it. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: That is correct. 20 Deputy Costello: In his conclusions of what he examined, Mr. Hall indicates, on page 70, that "The presence of nitrite in the foam rubber is .... strongly indicative of the use of a nitrate containing explosive in this explosion." Could a nitrate come only from one or other of the mixtures - ammonium nitrate - used at the time by either the UVF or the Provisional IRA? Could it have come from commercial explosives? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The nitrates supply the oxygen in an explosion and there would be a quantity of oxidising agents - it could be nitrate - in commercial explosives as well. Deputy Costello: When, on page 70, Mr. Hall goes on to say, "The presence of sodium, ammonium, nitrate, nitrite and possibly sugar on the one part of the surface of one of the fragments .... is indicative of an explosive containing these entities.", can he be referring to commercial explosives in that case? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Is this the Monaghan one? Deputy Costello: I think he is referring to them all at this stage. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I think case No. 2588/74 is the Monaghan one. Deputy Costello: Case No. 2587/74 is the Monaghan one. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The Deputy is correct. 21 Deputy Costello: Do the cases before that - cases No. 2588/74 and 2589/74 - refer to the Monaghan bomb? This is the summary on all of them. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I do not know the case numbers. Deputy Costello: It would seem, from Mr. Hall's point of view, that there would be a suggestion, if that is the Monaghan bomb, that it would contain something other than commercial explosives. Is that correct? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Deputy Costello: The description of the Monaghan bombing was given by Commandant Boyle. He, again, indicated that it was a 150 lb high quality explosive, such as blasting gelignite. Would this be in line with Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher's description by and large? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. There was a high percentage of commercial explosives. Deputy Costello: Dr. Donovan was before the sub-committee this morning. Despite the fact that it is stated on page 68, that hydrocarbon oils or nitrobenzene were not detected in any of the samples, he concluded, and gave as an opinion to us, that ANFO formed part of the bomb he examined. He had only examined debris from the Parnell Street crater. Does Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher think that is merely an opinion? Would he come to that conclusion? 22 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: In the area of the engine of a car one will have oil because the lubrication system is oil based. Deputy Costello: There were no oil samples. He received no oil samples. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. With the temperature of the explosion, etc., everything in the engine would have been destroyed but there could be cross- contamination by oil from the vehicle in the area. Deputy Costello: So that could be either a component of the bomb or something else. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Exactly, yes. It would be hard to separate it. Deputy Costello: Given that the Lieutenant Colonel is describing a very powerful explosive which indicates to him that it contained a strong element of, if not solely, commercial explosive, what would be his opinion on the origin of the bombs he examined? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I would not be competent to even give an opinion or a guesstimate as to the origin of the bomb itself. The explosives would have been my area. Deputy Costello: I do not mean the origin in that sense. What I am looking for is a comparison between the type of bombs used by the Army, which undoubtedly would comprise 100% commercial explosives, by the Provisional IRA which are generally a mixture with only a booster of commercial explosives or by t he UVF. 23 Would the UVF bombs be seen to be the same? In your opinion, was this a different bomb from the kind that would have been used by any of the paramilitary organisations of which you might have had experience of examining during your time in the ordnance sector of the Army? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No components were available or found. These would have been a major clue as to who had assembled the device. Different organisations have different techniques. The information on how to make t he bulk explosive was freely available in various books like The Anarchist Cookbook. It was pre-Internet days but this information would have been relatively freely available in the marketplace----- Deputy Costello: At the time. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. It is the main area that would give a clue as to who the originators were. Particularly with the time power unit, you would try to find out what type of clock was used, if it was a wrist-watch, a clock or electronic. These are a little bit like fingerprints. You can say, "Yes, that person made that one; that is his style." As no components were available and I did not see any, I am not competent to comment. Deputy Costello: Would it be a reasonable conclusion that all three were high quality bombs detonated within 90 seconds of each other with an extraordinary degree of precision and that that pattern of bombing had not been seen up to that time or subsequently in the Republic of Ireland? You would have had an acquaintance with some of the bombs exploded later in the 1970s. 24 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: It is the only mass attack of we are aware which was successful. The timings were within 90 seconds, which is quite a tight timescale. Deputy Costello: Was it unique? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: It was unique. It has not been repeated, though we do not know if there were other attempts to do similar things. It was unique, definitely, in its disastrous success. Deputy Costello: Absolutely. In your opinion as an Army officer working in this area, do you think it required a high degree of professional expertise? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The timing would not require a high level of expertise. I am just supposing that it was what you call the simple old-fashioned alarm clock. You put a pin in the face and set the sweep hand to whatever time. That would be relatively simple to do. It would require a certain confidence in the mechanism that when you set the time, it will not go off for, say, ten or twelve minutes or whatever it is. To get three bombs to go off in 90 seconds maybe required luck because very often these timers do not work but they went off. Deputy Costello: Have you had an opportunity to read Mr. Wylde's submission to us? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. I have only read extracts in the Barron report. 25 Deputy Costello: Do you have any opinion to give us on the extracts you have read? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The only thing that stood out as unusual was his interpretation of press photographs in which he felt he could determine specks of ANFO. While I do not know when he saw these photographs, they were at least 25 years old. I know little about photography but I would assume that photographs would deteriorate over the period. I also assume they were black and white photographs and it would be almost impossible to determine if a little speck was ANFO. Deputy Costello: The Lieutenant Colonel has serious doubts. Senator J. Walsh: I thought he said he was not an expert in this area. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I said I thought it would be impossible as photographs deteriorate over a period. In examining a photograph, even if it were enlarged, it would be almost impossible to say that a speck was ANFO. Deputy Costello: One would also look at it in the conte xt of the fallout from the type of ANFO bomb, evidenced by the environment surrounding it. It is not just about identifying the specks of ANFO. Do you have expertise in the area? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I do not. It was a May evening and would probably have been dark by 9 o'clock. I do not know when these photographs were taken. Light levels may have been quite poor by the time the press 26 photographer was allowed into the scene. It would be almost impossible to determine what was on the ground from photographic evidence only. Deputy Costello: Thank you. Deputy P. Power: I thank the Lieutenant Colonel for assisting us with our work. Did he say he trained in Britain? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Deputy P. Power: Whereabouts? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: In Bramley. It was an ammunition school near Basingstoke but it is now closed. I trained there in 1970 and it closed down about four years later. It is now a Tesco warehouse. Deputy P. Power: I will not pass any comment on that. He attended the school for four years----- Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No, it was a six month ammunition course. There were no British Army officers on the course, they were Commonwealth officers and I was the only foreigner. The course involved the theory of ammunition, handling and use and EOD. Deputy P. Power: Did those conducting training have experience in bomb disposal in Northern Ireland? Was this part of the course? Did they draw their experience from Northern Ireland? 27 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I took the course in 1970 and it was only six or seven months after the start of the problems in Northern Ireland. They would not have built up expertise at that stage. Deputy P. Power: The Lieutenant Colonel was an explosives expert in the Army and would have general knowledge in the area. I have heard specialists say that each bomb leaves a signature that can identify who may or may not have made it. This was particularly difficult in this case. In his contribution to the "Hidden Hand - the Forgotten Massacre" programme, Commandant Trears said that it was 100% efficient; the entire bomb was expended and it was hard to get a read of the signature or fingerprint. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. If you presented me with, say, three unexploded bombs, at that stage I might have been in a position to say, "Yes, that was made by A; he also made that one and B made that one." Deputy P. Power: Would that include the Provisional IRA at the time? You would have been able to say, "That is an IRA bomb." Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No, I would have said, "That is similar to one I have seen before and I think that one was made by...," but putting the names on the assemblers was not our area. That would have been a police matter. Deputy P. Power: Did I read in the report that you had a number of meetings with Judge Barron? How many times did you meet him? 28 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I only met the late Mr. Justice Hamilton. Deputy P. Power: How many meetings did you have with Mr. Justice Hamilton? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: One. Deputy P. Power: I think the report says there were a number of meetings but it is not major. Could you explain the idea about the sharpness of a bomb crater? I am intrigued by this. It would imply that some bombs might leave a blunt-type crater. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Deputy P. Power: Could you elaborate on this? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: To take an equivalent, let us suppose one is breaking a bit of wood with a sledgehammer. If you use a very heavy hammer and swing it very quickly, you will get almost a sharp edge, whereas if you use a light hammer and did not swing as fast, one will get a more jagged edge. The edges of the craters I saw were relatively sharp - they were not soft - as if something travelling at high speed had caused the damage. Deputy P. Power: That is your basis for indicating that it was a commercial high explosive as distinct from non-commercial. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, for instance, if it had been a low explosive like, say, gun powder, which is of a much lower velocity, you would have got softer 29 edges on the crater. The higher the velocity of the explosion the sharper the edges. Deputy P. Power: If you think it is more probable that commercial explosive was used, as distinct from an ANFO-commercial mix or commercial explosive just for detonation purposes, that would therefore require a higher level of commercial explosive. Was that sort of level of commercial explosive around at the time? My understanding is that the reason paramilitary groups had to go through all of this process of recrystalisation and so on was they could not get their hands on it. If it is your view that a high amount of commercial explosive was used, would it not imply that the paramilitary group had access to it? Of course, it does. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: From a paramilitary group's point of view, to use, say, 100% commercial explosive would be foolish because it would cut down its capabilities to enhance home-made explosive in a subsequent device. My guess from the craters I saw was that the bombs had not been 100% high explosive. That was based on the viewing of the craters and also on the fact that it would have been a waste of "good explosive" when you did not need to use that quantity and could have degraded it with home-made explosive that would almost have the same effect in a densely populated area. There would be ver y little difference in the effect. Deputy P. Power: As we say down the country, one might be led to think that whoever constructed these bombs was flaithiúlach. In other words, they had a bountiful supply of commercial explosives. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: They had a supply. Bountiful----- 30 Deputy P. Power: Of course, you would need less because of the high explosive. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Even a small quantity will cause chaos in a populated area. A very small quantity - a couple of pounds - would cause a car to disintegrate. Whoever set them wanted to ensure they caused maximum damage. Chairman: What volume would the bomb have taken up? If it was ANFO, would it have been a different volume? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Chairman: What sort of volume? Would it have been seen in the back of a car? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: An 8 ounce stick of explosive has about the diameter of a broom handle. It is about six inches long. A 25 lb box of about 2 ft by 18 in by 18 in would hold 50 of those. Chairman: That would be a pretty big box relatively. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Big and small at the same time. Chairman: That was for gelignite. If it was ANFO----- Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Obviously, it would be a little bulkier because ANFO is not solid. Of course, it is not liquid either but it is loose. It is like clay, so 31 it would take up a bigger volume than if it was compressed and hard packed. They would not bother doing that. Chairman: As Senator Walsh mentioned, somebody informed us that there was a 4:1 ratio in volume. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Chairman: If there was a substantial amount of ANFO, are you talking about double the size you mentioned? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: If it was a 4:1 ratio of which I was not aware until today. Chairman: Obviously, there must have been some gelignite. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, there must have been. The volume would be bigger. If it was a 4:1 ratio, in theory it should be four times bigger than what I have described. You can put a lot of explosive into the boot of a car. You can put a lot on the back seat. Chairman: Any boot of any car would have been sufficient to hold the explosive. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Maybe, in conjunction with the rear seat as well. Chairman: If there was a timing device and somebody had to arm it, obviously if they had got out and opened the boot----- 32 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No, he would probably keep the timing device under the passenger seat with wires running back. That would be the simplest way. He would just have to lean over, set the clock, finally connect two wires and move off. Chairman: How difficult would it be to finally connect the two wires to set the detonator? What sort of expertise would be needed? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The detonator would be in the explosive. Chairman: The timing device. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: On the timing device, it might only be a matter of just pulling a rod. The bomber would have to have a safety measure built into the timing system so that it would not go off and that he would not score an own goal. He would probably have a rod - that was one method - which you would pull out as it would stop the hand from moving That is one method. A driver delivering a bomb would have to be confident that he was carrying was safe for him to carry. This would be one of the ways of ensuring this. He would have some simple item that he would pull out and walk away with. There could be another way with the timer in that he could twist wires but I would not find that as attractive. Chairman: How safe would it have been to drive around with a bomb like that in the back? What confidence would the bomber have that it would not go off? 33 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: One would want a lot of confidence in it. The bomber would have had to be shown that the safety system works. If I was asked or told to do it, I would have asked to see how the safety system operates. I would have asked if a jolt would set off the clock and initiate the bomb. I would have to be sure that the system was locked in an "off" position. The use of a little rod is one way of doing this. Chairman: Is it likely that the final touches were put to the mechanisms close to where the bombs exploded? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I would say they did the final action when they parked the vehicle. They would have removed the rod, twisted wires or threw an electrical switch. Chairman: Would it have been safe enough to drive it down from the Border? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: They would have tested the safety and ensured that it was vibration proof so that it would allow the bombers to drive on rough surfaces or suddenly stop at traffic lights and not cause the mechanism to commence. Chairman: One would want a certain amount of expertise to have confidence in the organisation of a such a bombing to ensure that three bombs would arrive on time without exploding and would explode at the one time. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: One would have to have confidence in the bomb maker or makers. One would also need training in how to set the timing unit. If a 34 rod was used, one would have to be confident that the bomb did not immediately explode when it was removed. Those that assemble bombs are too valuable to be used in delivering them. The "donkeys" must deliver them and they are more expendable. Chairman: Having read the report and having an interest in the bombings, are you satisfied that the UVF would have had the expertise, capacity and confidence to carry out the bombings in the manner they were carried out? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I would not be competent to comment on that. Deputy F. McGrath: I welcome Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher to the sub - committee. He said that timers often do not work. What doe he mean by this? From his experience, what percentage of timers would not work? Do most paramilitary bombs not go off? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: While I cannot comment on percentages, I will give the Deputy an example. Shellac was used on the arms of old alarm clocks to stop them from rusting. Shellac is an insulator, and if this was not removed or polished, it would not make good contact when it was supposed to and would not work. Deputy F. McGrath: Were there many instances of this over the years? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Thankfully, yes. 35 Deputy F. McGrath: The Lieutenant Colonel believes the bomb was set in Parnell Street or the other locations. Other people seem to think the bombs were primed in a car park in Whitehall and then driven into the city centre. What is your view of this? Would it be risky from the perspective of the bombers? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I would think that would be almost crazy because of the traffic conditions. For instance, from Whitehall to the centre of Dublin would take, say, 30 minutes driving under normal conditions but one does not know what hold-ups there would be. I definitely would not drive a car, having set it for 30 minutes in Whitehall. Chairman: Not in today's traffic anyway. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. Deputy F. McGrath: On bomb sites generally and atrocities, in his job has the Lieutenant Colonel visited many bomb sites in the North or in other countries and has he seen the same type of explosive devices used in any other situations? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No, I have not visited such sites in the North or in other countries. From time to time we would have samples of home-made explosive and would detonate it ourselves just to learn from it. This is where I would have gained most of my knowledge on that, visually, where we would put down 10 lb, 20 lb or 500 lb. Deputy F. McGrath: Has he visited other jurisdictions to see the effects of an explosion or a bomb? 36 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: No. Senator J. Walsh: One question is troubling me. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher mentioned, in answer to one of the questions, that he would be regarded as an explosives expert. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I would have an above average knowledge of explosives. I would consider myself an expert on military explosives. Senator J. Walsh: So he is qualifying that a little. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Senator J. Walsh: He stated in his letter to us, under paragraph 2, that he was responsible for bomb crater analysis, that is, estimating the quantity of explosives used. This was done on the basis of commercial explosives, 50 lb and such like. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, based on the tables. Senator J. Walsh: Would he have done an estimate on the basis of ANFO? The difficulty I have is that he stated, in answer to the question about the ratio of commercial explosives to ANFO, that the ratio of 1:4 was new information that he got today. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. 37 Senator J. Walsh: From my simple perspective, I would feel that is elementary when going to a crater to estimate. When one arrives, it may be or may not be all commercial explosives. So one must make an estimate of the quantity if it was commercial explosives. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Senator J. Walsh: If it was ANFO with a small amount of commercial explosives, then the quantity varies. Therefore, the co -relationship between the two must surely be known to somebody doing that analysis. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The table I used was based on detonated bulk TNT explosive, what is called "uncased", in other words, not constrained or in something like a cardboard box placed on the surface. One measures or paces out the maximum distance at which there is glass breakage, say, 300 metres or 350 metres, and then one goes back to the table. That tells one----- Senator J. Walsh: The quantity of TNT----- Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Correct. Senator J. Walsh: -----which is the same as gelignite or dynamite. Is that correct? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, it is in the same scale. 38 Senator J. Walsh: Where the Lieutenant Colonel stated 50 lb, 150 lb and 100 lb - which was for Parnell Street, I think - those would all have been from the TNT table. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: They would have been from the TNT table, yes. Senator J. Walsh: Therefore, they would be estimates of the quantities of commercial explosives used to create those types of craters. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I can see the Senator's point. Senator J. Walsh: Is that correct? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. There was the second factor of the shape and sharpness of the edges of the crater. This allowed me to come to my conclusion. Senator J. Walsh: That is fine. That is all based on commercial explosives. At the time, he would have been familiar with ANFO-type explosives. I think he stated that in his comments to me. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Senator J. Walsh: Would he not have had to do a similar exercise to estimate the quantity of ANFO that might have been used? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: ANFO on its own? 39 Senator J. Walsh: ANFO will not work on its own without the assistance of some kind of detonation. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, it needs a small booster. Senator J. Walsh: It would need a small amount of explosives but the volume would primarily be ANFO. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The velocity of detonation of ANFO on its own, or with a small quantity of booster,----- Senator Walsh: Just enough to set it off. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The velocity of detonation is not as high as with commercial explosive. It has a different effect on the crater in the ground. I have described it as gentler. It does not have clean edges. Senator Walsh: My question is based on my surprise at the fact that Colonel Kelleher did not know of the co-relationship between ANFO and the commercial explosives. I have difficulty getting my mind around that. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Unless it is lost from my memory. I agree that I did not. I raised the point because of the 4:1 ratio as I had not heard of that until I discussed it with Colonel O'Sullivan. He raised it with me this morning. I had never heard that. 40 Chairman: When Colonel O'Sullivan appears before the sub-committee, he might be able to clarify it. Senator Walsh: If it was an ANFO based bomb, would its volume have been a consideration in the investigation? That comes back to estimating the quantity of explosive used. Was everything co-related to TNT? That would seem odd. Chairman: We are looking at sharp edges. Senator Walsh: I am conscious of that. I am trying to square it. Chairman: Would it not then be hypothetical to look at ANFO? Senator Walsh: That is the point I am trying to come to. According to the evidence we have been given, it is clear that commercial explosives were used. However, the thesis in the Barron report is that the bomb was ANFO, assisted by a small amount of commercial explosive. If we are depending on the sharpness of the edges, which I think is what we are discussing, why was the volume of an ANFO device not estimated? We cannot have it both ways. It is either one or the other. If the device was suspected to be ANFO, the quantity should have been estimated as a matter of course. Chairman: If it was suspected that it contained ANFO. Senator Walsh: If not, I respectfully suggest that Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher's evidence would be that commercial explosive was used. He did not say t hat to me when I asked him. I am trying to get clarification. 41 Chairman: Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher, do you have any comment on that, or will we leave it in abeyance? Will we stick with what you have said? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Chairman: Do you want to expand on the matter at this point in time? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I will think about. Chairman: We will move on to another subject and come back to this matter later. Senator Walsh: I assure the Lieutenant Colonel that I am not trying to catch him out. I am seeking clarification. Chairman: We will return to the matter if the Lieutenant Colonel has anything to add. Deputy P. McGrath: As an amateur looking in from the outside in terms of explosives, perhaps I can help us to come to a conclusion. The Lieutenant Colonel referred to the tables of outline TNT equivalents designed and drawn up by him. Are they international standards? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: They are British tables compiled empirically after the Second World War through the disposal of a great deal of bulk German ammunition. The tables the Army uses are British tables. 42 Deputy P. McGrath: In effect, they are international tables. It would therefore be unlikely that the Army would localise them and say that 10 lbs of TNT is equivalent in Ireland to a different amount of ANFO than in another part of the world where a form of improvised explosive is used. Might that be the case? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. Chairman: We will come back to that. Deputy P. Power: In his original letter to the sub-committee, Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher stated that the report provided a very accurate summary. It states clearly in the report that the then Captain Kelleher led the Army team investigating the sites, that he continues to be a serving officer holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and that he was interviewed by the inquiry on a number of occasions. Chairman: Deputy Power is referring to the top of page 67. Deputy P. Power: Reading that, it struck me that Mr. Justice Barron relied greatly on Colonel Kelleher's expertise in the area. The Colonel was interviewed on at least two, if not more, occasions. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I was interviewed by the late Mr. Justice Hamilton only, I was not interviewed by Mr. Justice Barron. I was interviewed only once. Deputy P. Power: I do not doubt you in the slightest. 43 Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I missed that point. Deputy Costello: In his submission, Nigel Wylde stated that in the first half of 1974, the British Army was not taught to look for ANFO. He told the sub- committee that as far as he was aware, the three bombs on 17 May 1974 were the first car bombs in the Republic that probably used large quantities of ANFO. He was not surprised that the neither the EOD teams nor the technical bureau officers knew what to look for even if ANFO remained at the scene when they arrived. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher was trained in Britain. Was detection of ANFO part of the training? Where did he come to have knowledge of ANFO by May 1974? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The Army has an ordnance school where we instruct in the use of ammunition, weapons and EOD. I took a course there in 1965 and a refresher course three or four years later. I took the course in Britain in 1970 and would have taken another refresher course in our school between 1970 and 1974. In this, we would have studied the latest problems and may have conducted exercises in them. I do not know if I had come across ANFO in a find before 1974. I would have to check my records to confirm this. Deputy Costello: Is the Lieutenant Colonel categorically saying that you had knowledge of ANFO as part of an explosive substance prior to 1974? Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes. I am sure of that. Deputy Costello: Therefore, the Lieutenant Colonel would directly contradict Nigel Wylde when he said that neither the EOD team nor the technical bureau 44 officers knew what to look for, even if ANFO remained at the scene when they arrived. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: From a forensic perspective, we would have primarily been seeking a timing device as this would give clues. We were also looking for any type of explosive. We were not focused on ANFO; we were seeking anything from the scene that would be of value. Deputy Costello: ANFO was not on the Lieutenant Colonel's mind, it was just the crater and assessment of the scene. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: If I found something that looked like explosives, I would have bagged it and given it to the Garda. I would not have been specifically looking for ANFO or any other type of explosive. Deputy Costello: The Lieutenant Colonel gauged that two of bombs contained 100 lbs and 50 lbs of commercial explosives respectively. If one looks at the upper end and the 4:1 ratio, it is 500 lbs. Would it be true to say that this quantity of explosive - if it comprised largely ANFO and a small detonating booster - would probably have filled the boot and most of the back seat. Chairman: That would weigh down the car. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, it would weigh down the car. This is one of the techniques that was used in the North to determine if a car contained a bomb. If it was, it would ride low on its suspension and similarly, if a row of cars were parked and one was particularly low. 45 Deputy Costello: My point----- Chairman: We shall move on to Colonel O'Sullivan and come back to----- Deputy Costello: No, the point is that we have no evidence, or none of the witnesses has given any information, to the effect that there was a body of material in the back of a car. We have a statement from page 253 of the report that a journalist was told by somebody who had observed the bomber on South Leinster Street that he was, apparently, working at something inside the car before he got out. The likely explanation is that he was adjusting a timer but nobody has described any sign of a large quantity of anything in the car other than the individuals themselves? In some of the cars there were individuals sitting in the back seats. Is that not the evidence we have been given? If there was a large quantity of ANFO, would it have had to be stored not just in the boot but also on the back seat? Chairman: I am sure that Colonel O'Sullivan who has already given us a very detailed list of low explosives and high explosives, might have an answer to that question also. At that point, Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher can come back in if he feels there is something else he can add. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Okay. Chairman: I very much thank Colonel O'Sullivan for coming. Could you give us a background on what your expertise is? 46 Colonel Joseph O'Sullivan: Like Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher, I am an ordnance officer. I have a university degree - a BSc in chemistry - and a Master of Science degree in chemistry from UCC. I was commissioned into the ordnance corp on the same day as Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher in December 1964. I have served almost half of my career in ammunition explosives, either in the ammunition depot for the first number of years or as staff officer in the directorate of ordnance, dealing with ammunition explosive matters for a considerable period during the 1980s. I have done the same courses as Rory. I did not do the course in England but I did the course within our own corps, which is an extensive 15 month course when you come in first on all aspects of our work. We have done refresher courses in between. I have run refresher courses in the area of anti-terrorist bomb disposal techniques and so forth. I have been involved in the development of certain areas of EOD over the years. I have served for most of my career in The Curragh, whereas Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher has spent most of his career in Dublin. We were not exposed in The Curragh to the urban bomb that they got in Dublin. We did a lot of duty on the Border, both in Dundalk EOD post and Finner EOD post. I have served in both in my time and so would have that type of experience. I am now director of ordnance and I am responsible for the activities of the ordnance corps. One of our major activities is EOD, bomb disposal. Chairman: Can you respond in general to the question that has arisen in regard to ANFO and high explosive? Colonel O'Sullivan: I have for your information a short leaflet on explosives to clear up certain areas because there is a lot of confusion in the Wylde documents about explosives. ANFO is a comme rcial high explosive. It is ammonium nitrate, 47 one of the most powerful explosives in the world. It is also a very good fertiliser. Ammonium nitrate is an extremely stable substance and requires a high power initiator to set it off. When it is set off in that way, it is a very powerful explosive in its own right and is used commercially as a high explosive. It is used extensively in this country as a high explosive. ANFO is created by mixing ammonium nitrate with a certain percentage of diesel oil. The inherent insensitivity of ammonium nitrate is reduced. It is made more sensitive. Therefore, by using a booster of less sensitive explosive, ammonium nitrate is used as a commercial explosive to start it off and detonate. In the early 1970s when the bombing started, commercial explosives came under severe restriction from a security point of view, so the access of the subversives to commercial explosives was much reduced. Their use of commercial explosive was reduced gradually down to using the commercial explosive as a booster for their home-made explosives. They started of, first of all, with home-made explosive of sodium chlorate and nitrobenzene. Sodium chlorate, as many of you will remember, was a very good weedkiller but it was also an explosive compound. When you mixed it with nitrobenzene, an organic liquid used in certain chemical manufactures, in dyes and so forth, you got a high explosive which was very powerful. Once that was seen to be used, there was an order in 1972 which restricted the use and availability of sodium chlorate and nitrobenzene. That order also restricted ammonium nitrate, whereas up to that ammonium nitrate of almost 100% purity was on sale as a fertiliser. They found that if they reduced the percentage of ammonium nitrate in fertiliser to below 79%, it no longer acted as an explosive, so that was done. Ground limestone - calcium carbonate, a grey powder that was used as another fertiliser - was mixed with ammonium nitrate and was sold as a fertiliser called CAN - calcium ammonium nitrate. That was a common product at the time. The order of 1972 removed the sale of sodium 48 chlorate and limited the sale of fertilisers containing ammonium nitrate to this new percentage. I believe that the Republican subversives tried to make ANFO from this fertiliser and did not succeed - it would not detonate. It is a very simple process to take that type of adulterated ammonium nitrate and extract the ammonium nitrate from it. All it involves is dissolving the fertiliser in warm water. The ground limestone used in it is insoluble in water and settles to the bottom. You decant off the liquid, evaporate the water and you are left with crystals of ammonium nitrate. That is where they were getting the ammonium nitrate from. The problem with that, from a subversive point of view, is one had quite a lot of this grey sludgy stuff if you were doing it in quantity and that tended to give away the sites of this crystallisation to security forces who were hovering around in helicopters or searching on the ground. They would see this sludgy stuff and know that something was going on - that crystallisation was going on in the area. The subversives did use that. It is basic kitchen sink chemistry. It is very simple chemistry. It is not chemistry at all really; it is just boiling water. They were able to get almost pure ammonium nitrate from that. In 1973 the Government inspector asked me if this was possible and I did it for him using kitchen sink methods. When he analysed the product I got in that way using simple kitchen sink methods, it was 98% ammonium nitrate. That is where the ammonium nitrate was coming from in the period we are talking about, the 1973 period, and continuing on to this day in many ways. The fuel oil is easily available. It is only diesel oil. If you add a certain percentage of diesel oil and mix it up well with the crystallised ammonium nitrate, you now have this powerful high explosive. To set it off, you need a booster charge of a less sensitive explosive and it was usually, as Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher described, cartridges of gelignite - Frangex or Gelamex, the commercial gelignite nitroglycerine based explosives. That was put into the centre of a beer 49 barrel full of this ammonium nitrate mix along with an electric detonator, and that was the bomb. It is a very simple object. There is variability in the effect of that high explosive compared to TNT, the standard for measurement in the tables Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher described. The variability may be due to the quality control in the manufacture or crystallisation of this ammonium nitrate. Some groups of subversives would make good stuff; some would make bad stuff. It is like making poitín. If one did not run it properly, one would not get good poitín. The same is true with kitchen sink ammonium nitrate production. Some would make better quality stuff than others and it would require more of the poorer quality stuff to produce the same effect on the ground. I hope that clarifies some of the questions. Ammonium nitrate fuel oil is a very powerful commercial and subversive explosive. Chairman: Members asked if ANFO was used in the May bombs and Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher has responded. How much ANFO would have been needed to create the effect of 150 lbs of high explosive TNT? Colonel O'Sullivan: Our experience of ANFO and this type of subversive bomb is that there was a tendency to put them in beer barrels, gas bottles or other metal containers purely as a means of carrying the material. Ammonium nitrate is a loose, crystalline powder. In its original form it is granular to make it more waterproof. The problem with ammonium nitrate is that it absorbs water. In a container such as I have described, it would be easy to ensure that the detonator was placed right in the middle of the charge. One could easily fit two beer barrels in the boot of an average sized family saloon car. I have seen that with IRA bombs in the Dundalk area over the years which were placed in Ford Cortina cars or similar vehicles. That is a couple of hundred pounds of explosive. 50 Chairman: In one beer barrel? Colonel O'Sullivan: One beer barrel can take about 100 lbs of explosive. With good quality ammonium nitrate the ratio in question might only be 1.5:1 TNT. Once one detonates a high explosive, one gets the effect. It does not matter what original chemical is used as it is the high explosive which produces a huge volume of gas instantly at very high temperatures. The wave created is a shock wave which moves at a speed from 3,000 to 4,000 metres per second up to 7,500 metres per second. That can be measured scientifically. Chairman: Will the wave travel faster if the ammonium nitrate is purer? Colonel O'Sullivan: The speed of the shock wave depends on two things. The first is the type of basic bulk explosive one is using and the second is the impetus of the initial detonation, one's booster. If one uses a very high powered booster, as we tend to in the military, one will have a much higher speed of velocity within the bulk explosive than if one uses a lower powered starter. In the military we use 7,000 metres per second velocity boosters. If one uses a two volt battery to burn a little filament, it will take a long time to make it red, whereas with 50 volts it will get red straight away. The concept is similar. The greater the kick one gives an explosion, the greater the effect of the bulk explosive. Chairman: Do we know what sort of booster was used in the May 1974 bombs? Colonel O'Sullivan: Unfortunately, from all of the explosion sites in Dublin and Monaghan we have a lack of adequate chemical and physical analysis at forensic 51 level and cannot tell with accuracy what explosive compounds were used in those bombs. The indications from Mr. Hall and Dr. Donovan are that there could have been ANFO ammonia-nitrate explosive and there could have been commercial nitro-glycerine, gelignite type explosives. Those are the indications, but, like Mr. Hall and Dr. Donovan, we cannot state anything with certainty. Our experience as ordnance officers and the thinking of British ordnance officers tends us to the belief that device was a combined bomb. It was a home-made explosive bomb which was set off with an amount of commercial, gelignite type explosive. Nitrate is used in almost every explosive. Trinitrotoluene, nitro -glycerine, ammonium nitrate and sodium nitrate are all nitrates. Almost all the best explosives contain nitrate because combined with oxygen it provides a high velocity and a high amount of gas when it is detonated. Chairman: I do not know whether Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher compiled a report in the days or weeks after the bombs. If a report was made, did you review and analyse it? Colonel O'Sullivan: I would not have done this as I was a captain in the Curragh at the time. That would normally have gone to the command ordnance officer in Dublin. It would also have gone to the police. Our function in bomb disposal is to save life. The gardaí will show us an object and ask us to deal with it. We render it safe and leave. Anything after this is their problem. The forensic scene examination is a Garda problem. However, the Garda may ask us for our opinion on something. In the case of post-explosion call-outs, one is presented with a scene and asked for an opinion on it. However, one has no competence in the gathering of forensic material, neither was the British Army trained in this type of activity. 52 Deputy Costello: I direct the Colonel's attention to page 68 of the Barron report. On that page, reference is made to the forensic of samples by James Donovan. He found traces of ammonium nitrate, sodium nitrate and nitro-glycerine in materials given to him on 20 May by Sergeant Jones. Particular mention was made of two blackened prills of ammonium nitrate discovered on scrapings. How would the Colonel interpret this with reference to the nature of the bomb? Colonel O'Sullivan: If there were a mix of ammonium nitrate and nitro- glycerine, one would get nitrates and the residues of nitro-glycerine from forensic examination. Dr. Donovan is a very competent chemist. Before ammonium nitrate fertiliser was reduced in strength, it came in prill form. Prills are little grains that are covered by a skin in order to better resist moisture. When it was denatured, that CAN was produced in prills. He does not say whether it is pure ammonium nitrate prills, or CAN prills. If prills existed and the entire explosive was prills - we do not know this - and there was no calcium ammonium nitrate in the analysis - the evidence referred to does not say this - then it would possibly indicate the original type of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, which was not denatured. Deputy Costello: This would be a component of----- Colonel O'Sullivan: There is inadequate scientific evidence here to say what that was, except that it was ammonium nitrate prills. Deputy Costello: While it also used prills, it was suggested to us that, by and large, the Provisional IRA used ammonium nitrate crystals. This suggests this was 53 not stolen from Provisional IRA stocks. What is the most likely composition of a bomb using prills? Would it most likely be a combination of ammonium nitrate plus fuel oil? Can we be certain that those prills did not come from commercial explosive? Colonel O'Sullivan: If it was pure ammonium nitrate prills, this would indicate that it came from the original stocks of almost pure ammonium nitrate fertiliser and fuel oil is required to set this off. Deputy Costello: Therefore, it would have to be made up rather than being commercial. Colonel O'Sullivan: The prills were commercial. Deputy Costello: I know the prills were commercial. Did gelignite or any commercial bomb, other than one of the bombs made by the paramilitaries, have ammonium nitrate in either crystal or prill form? Colonel O'Sullivan: The ammonium nitrate commercial bomb would not have been used much at that stage. Prilled ammonium nitrate as a fertiliser was removed from the market in 1972. That is not to say that certain subversive elements could not have had stocks of it left over. We were still finding stocks of sodium chlorate left over for about a year after the order came in. Until they ran down their stocks of the original ammonium nitrate pure fertiliser prills, they did not----- 54 Deputy Costello: I know what the Colonel is saying but there is a clear indication from what Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher is saying that there was a strong element of commercial explosive. Is the presence of ammonium nitrate prills a strong indication that there was also an element of home made bomb? Colonel O'Sullivan: Yes, it is. The presence of ammonium nitrate prills means that the ammonium nitrate would have been the bulk explosive, but one needs fuel oil to add to it and the commercial explosive as a booster. Deputy Costello: In other words, if one finds, as James Donovan points out----- Colonel O'Sullivan: Two blackened prills. Deputy Costello: Particular mention was made of two blackened prills. Must we not inevitably come to the conclusion that there had to be an element of a home made bomb here? Colonel O'Sullivan: It would have been a home made bomb, yes. Deputy Costello: There is no doubt about that? Colonel O'Sulivan: There is no doubt about that. Once it contained ammonium nitrate it was a home made explosive. Deputy Costello: If it is prills of ammonium nitrate, is ANFO the most likely type of bomb that would have been used? 55 Colonel O'Sullivan: When fuel oil is added to the prills they become ANFO. ANFO is ammonium nitrate fuel oil. Deputy Costello: Perhaps I could direct the Colonel's attention then to the next sentence on page 68 of the report, which states: "Hydrocarbon oils or nitrobenzene were not detected in any of the samples." How do we tally that contradictory position? Colonel O'Sullivan: I cannot. For a start, I would not have expected nitrobenzene to have been there at that stage. We could eliminate nitrobenzene from our calculations because it had totally been removed from the subversive inventory at that time. Distribution of it ended in 1972 and subversives had certainly run out of it by late 1973. That is why they moved on to ammonium nitrate fuel oil. Dr. Donovan concluded that, "The results suggest the use of gelignite/dynamite as the explosive substance," but he does not say whether it is the main charge or the booster charge. This is where there is a lack of clarity. There is not enough scientific evidence to say exactly what was the composition. With adequate scientific evidence one would be able to find the residues of ammonium nitrate, fuel oil and commercial gelignite-type explosive if they were there. Unfortunately, however, we do not have, for any of the four bombs, a full suite of chemical and physical testing to allow us to say what the bomb was made from. We are speculating to a great degree on the basis of probabilities. The scientific evidence may be confusing the issue to a degree because it is insufficient. Deputy Costello: I think we accept that. We do not know what the mix is. However, the witnesses have accepted that it had to be a mix. Nigel Wylde says 56 that the mix was ANFO, and he is definitive about that. Colonel O'Sullivan is prepared to state that there was a mix, in other words, that there was a commercial element and a home made element, but that he does not know what the mix is and cannot say whether or not it was ANFO. Does that summarise his position? Colonel O'Sullivan: First, it was a full high explosive that functioned fully in all four cases. No low explosive was involved in any of the four bombs. Second, they were all high explosive bombs that detonated fully as far as we are concerned because the evidence is that there were no residues of unexploded explosive left at the sites. Third, on the basis of our experience and on the information, which is inadequate in ways, in the documents we have seen, the likelihood is that the main charge in all four bombs was a home-made explosive, most probably of the ANFO-type, most probably boosted by a commercial nitroglycerine-type explosive and certainly set off by an electric detonator. That is what we would say with reasonable confidence and certainty. Chairman: Would the IRA or UVF have had nitroglycerine? You are saying they would not have had that. Colonel O'Sullivan: The IRA certainly had ANFO, were making ANFO. They certainly had the nitroglycerine-type explosive, be it Frangex, gelignite and so forth. They had the electric detonators and they had full competence to make switches, the electric clock-type timers and firing units. We have certain knowledge about the loyalists - we shall call them loyalists for the lack of another name, for people who are not republicans. Within a week of 57 the Dublin bombings we found a partially exploded device around Swanlinbar, under a bridge, where it had not adequately detonated for the simple reason that they had used too much fuel oil in the ANFO mix. This was not a republican device. A month after that, in Clones, there was another bomb, which we and the police authorities were satisfied was not of republican origins. I have details of it here. It was 500 lb of ammonium nitrate prills and diesel mixture, 20 lb of gelignite, one electric detonator and 30 feet of cortex which is a detonating cord, and there was a clock timing unit on it. That was on 24 June 1974, four weeks after the Dublin bombings, and that was not a republican bomb. Deputy Costello: What was the quantity of ammonium nitrate? Colonel O'Sullivan: There was 500 lb of ammonium nitrate with diesel - ANFO. We have not got the original quantity for the other but it was in a Calor gas cylinder and it had not detonated fully. There was some small quantity of ammonium nitrate-fuel oil mix found inside the gas cylinder, so there was the competence in the non-republican groups to do that. Deputy Costello: You would agree with the Barron conclusion that UVF or loyalist paramilitaries had the capacity to make bombs of this nature. Colonel O'Sullivan: We feel the loyalist paramilitaries had the capacity, certainly to make ammonium nitrate crystals from the fertiliser. They had the capacity to make the home-made bomb with the ammonium nitrate, fuel oil and commercial explosive. They had the capacity to fire that using an electric detonator. 58 Deputy P. Power: When the Colonel states they had the capacity to make them, is there a distinction between this and the fact that there is evidence that they used them - the ANFO-type explosive with the detonator, timer, etc. - on this particular occasion? You may correct me if I am wrong but you are not in a position to say, or have no expert knowledge of, whether that was their capacity. You had no intelligence in that regard. All you can say - you said it with great conviction - is that you are certain it was an ANFO-type bomb, detonator and timer but you are not in a position to say they were in a position to construct that. Am I correct in that distinction? Colonel O'Sullivan: It is our considered opinion that they had the capacity to purify the fertiliser. That is so simple a task that the competence of a community of people in the North of Ireland on the loyalist side was not less than the competence of the community of people on the republican side. To underestimate their capacity to do that would be very unsafe. We are saying that within a week of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings we saw a bomb of this type, whic h was definitely not of republican origin, used on our Border. Deputy P. Power: I agree that it was a non-republican bomb. I am trying to find out the basis on which Colonel O'Sullivan makes the claim that the bombers had the ability to construct devices of this type as distinct from the fact that they used them on these occasions. The sub-committee has received a number of submissions to the effect that they did not have this technology or capability. That is what gives rise to the suggestion that there were outside influences at play and collusion. What is the basis of the Colonel's knowledge that these people had the 59 capability to make these devices? Is it based on intelligence or Colonel O'Sullivan's great experience of ANFO type bombs? Colonel O'Sullivan: There is a bald statement in one of the Wylde reports to the effect that the only people with the competence to crystallise explosives from fertiliser were the British Army and the IRA. That is a very unsafe thing to say. The process is so simple that any secondary school child could do it. A community of people on a particular side with huge intellectual academic connections into universities, technical institutes and factories would have more than adequate competence to acquire the knowledge and apply it. We feel that they had that knowledge because we saw what seemed to be its results within a month of the Dublin bombings. In one of his reports, Mr. Nigel Wylde says that if they had that knowledge, we would have seen it shortly after the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. We did. Those are his own words. It proves to us that the competence, capacity and ability was there to make the device. The question of whether they could deliver it to Dublin is another matter. Deputy P. Power: I am not doubting the Colonel. I am glad to see the contrary view put forward that it was relatively easy to do this and required a low degree of technical ability. We have not seen that view put forward before. Am I correct? Deputy P. McGrath: We did not hear about the unexploded bombs before. Deputy P. Power: No, we did not. Chairman: Deputy Costello wishes to speak. 60 Deputy P. Power: I need to come back on this, Chairman. Deputy Costello: Mr. Nigel Wylde made his point as a practitioner in charge of explosive ordnance in 1974. He was the professional on the British side in the North. He stated that they did not see another loyalist bomb of this type until 1976, which is two years later. Colonel O'Sullivan is saying a non-republican bomb with these characteristics was used south of the Border within a week of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Mr. Wylde was operating in a responsible capacity north of the Border. Do we have two contradictory positions which are not amenable to resolution? While they were more likely to be used north of the Border, Mr. Wylde never came across devices of this type. If the technology, which Colonel O'Sullivan says is very simple, was available, why was it not used for the next couple of years? Colonel O'Sullivan: It is our experience that bombs of this type were used by the non-republican side in the period in question. From the technical information we got at the time, they were aware of the crystallisation of ANFO in the North of Ireland. One of the things Nigel Wylde says is that from June to October 1974 he was operating as an EOD officer in Belfast and he says he did not come across any ANFO in Belfast but he also says there was an awful lot of home-made explosive in his bombs but we have no forensic analysis from him of what that home-made explosive was, even in bombs that were dismantled, that did not function. He does not say in his report what that home-made explosive was. He gives no indication of what it was. He has no forensic evidence that it was not ammonium nitrate, so there is a lack of hard fact coming out of Wylde in some respects. All we can go on is our own experience of the simplicity of the conversion of ammonium nitrate fertiliser into pure ammonium nitrate. We got 61 those definitely non-republican bombs on our border almost contemporaneously with the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Deputy P. Power: You are making the assumption that because it was not claimed by republicans it was not republican. I quote from the transcript of the "Hidden Hand" programme, which forms part of Judge Barron's report: "Lieutenant Colonel George Styles was the former head of the British Army's bomb disposal network worldwide and he served in Northern Ireland in 1969 to 1972". Therefore, he was on the ground dealing with this and was the British Army's worldwide expert. He states, "I have no high regard for their skill in 1974. I don't think they were at a level that would equate to the sort of techniques that were used here in Dublin ... I don't think there was one. In my view, they had not done this sort of thing. This is, as I say, outside their field of technology." What I am getting at is that you have a firm conviction as to the nature of the bomb. There is no doubt about this but you are making the conclusion that because it was claimed by the UVF, ispso facto it had the technology to make it. We are putting the contrary view to you. We have received quite a number of submissions, both in the report and directly to us, which suggest the contrary, that they did not have that. Your contention is based on supposition as distinct from intelligence or hard facts. You are deducing this. Colonel O'Sullivan: There is a comment from Dr. Donovan in one of the reports - I do not have the exact page - quoted by Nigel Wylde. It says Detective Sergeant Jones told him that there was a UVF cell in County Fermanagh who had access to prilled ammonium nitrate. Deputy P. Power: Okay. 62 Colonel O'Sullivan: This is not commented on or denied in any way in Nigel Wylde's script; it is mentioned by him specifically. As we know, Wylde was operating in urban Belfast, not in rural Northern Ireland. The likelihood of purification of fertiliser in a city is very unlikely because of the problem of getting rid of sludge, so it is quite possible that rural loyalists, if you would like to call them that, had ANFO. Also, there is no question that they knew how to make bombs. A clock portion was also found in the Monaghan bomb. Deputy P. Power: You have said with a fair amount of conviction that, in your opinion, this was an ANFO based bomb. I am not trying to create a wedge; I am just trying to clarifying matters in my own mind because I am confused about this. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher, you are saying a substantial proportion of this was commercial high explosive as distinct from non-commercial high explosive. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: I used the term commercial high explosive. Deputy P. Power: You are not willing to speculate on a percentage but it is certainly more than 50%. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: Yes, a higher percentage than was necessary. In other words, it was more than a booster charge of commercial high explosive. Senator J. Walsh: To summarise Colonel Joseph O'Sullivan's evidence, he is saying, effectively, that the 1974 bombs in Dublin were primarily of the ANFO type. I think he is going further in saying that no degree of skill was required in putting 63 the bombs together or detonating them within the synchronisation achieved. He is saying any second level student would be able to do it. Is that correct? Colonel O'Sullivan: There is one point I would like to bring out. People have got hooked up on a figure of 90 seconds. If we read the Barron report and the Garda investigation into the bombings, the first bomb went off on Parnell Street at 5.28 p.m.; the second bomb went off on Talbot Street at 5.30 p.m.; and the third bomb went off on South Leinster Street at about 5.32 p.m. There, in fact, a period of nearly five minutes, not 90 seconds, which makes the concept of a traditional clock much more plausible. Senator J. Walsh: Do you want to answer my question? Colonel O'Sullivan: Making that type of system of home made-explosive, commercial explosive, detonator and timing devise was well within the competence----- Senator J. Walsh: Of anybody. Colonel O'Sullivan: -----of both sides of the fence in this country. Senator J. Walsh: You are saying it was primarily an ANFO bomb in Dublin. Colonel O'Sulllivan: It seems that ANFO was used----- Senator J. Walsh: Were you involved in the investigations at all? 64 Colonel O'Sullivan: No. Senator J. Walsh: You had no hand, act or part to play in them? Colonel O'Sullivan: No. Senator J. Walsh: The evidence of Lieutenant Colonel Ruari Gallagher with regard to the bomb would be somewhat contradictory to what you are saying to us. As I understand Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher, he has said that in all probability commercial explosives were used exclusively but that he would not rule out the possibility of the bombs being ANFO-based, with perhaps a higher degree than normal of commercial explosives. It is stated in the second paragraph on the top of page 246 of the Barron report that "Irish Army EOD officer Comdt Boyle, in conveying the results of the EOD bomb scene analysis in Dublin and Monaghan to the Garda investigation team, proclaimed himself satisfied that the explosive used in each case was commercial rather than home-made". Thus, we now have all bets covered. That is not helpful to us. I wonder if yo u could elaborate on this? Colonel O'Sullivan: To say exactly what the bomb was, one would, from the very beginning, require detailed chemical and physical analysis. We are unfortunately unable to provide that. As I have said before, if a good high explosive is detonated and it is made up of pure ammonium nitrate with the correct amount of fuel oil and the booster from the commercial explosive, it will give the same type of effect as a bomb made primarily of gelignite and with a smaller amount of ANFO. Senator J. Walsh: That is not quite the evidence we got from----- 65 Colonel O'Sullivan: There is not necessarily a conflict between the two of us. Senator J. Walsh: One is saying commercial; you are saying it was home - made, and I think Lieutenant Colonel Rory Kelleher is saying it was probably commercial but might have been otherwise. While I can understand the difficulty, I am trying to get some clarity from our point of view. We have had three different explanations from the Army. My understanding of what Lieutenant Colonel Rory Kelleher said is that the definition of the crater would have signified whether the bomb had been home-made or commercial. His interpretation of the crater was that the definition was so precise that it certainly looked to him like commercial explosive had been used. Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher: The definition of the crater was, as I said, quite sharp and that led me to believe, in particular in what I call the South Leinster Street one, that there was a very high percentage of commercial explosive. That is the crater I remember, in particular. The other craters were also sharp and the construction of the road, six feet underneath, seemed to be slightly different than on South Leinster Street. In the other ones , the crater led me to believe that a high quantity of commercial explosive had been used, say, 80% or 60% - I am only guessing - and the rest would have been of a home-made nature. In other words, the South Leinster Street one, due to the sharpness of the crater, appeared to be almost 100% but, again from memory, the other ones were not as sharp. Hence there would have been a slower detonation with a less sharp cut. Senator J. Walsh: I do not think we are going to get further than that but may I take a different line, Chairman? 66 Chairman: A number of members are very stuck for time. We have found today that the Barron inquiry has addressed the issues. We are not here to inquire into or decide what sort of a bomb was involved. Please make it as short as possible, Senator, because we are finishing as soon as we possibly can. Senator J. Walsh: Colonel O'Sullivan, you mentioned the subsequent Swanlinbar bomb, within a month or two, where they used too much fuel oil. It was, therefore, an unsuccessful attempt. Colonel O'Sullivan: Correct. Senator J. Walsh: The Clones one, presumably, was detected before it exploded. Is that correct? Colonel O'Sullivan: It was actually Ballyconnell but it was north of Swanlinbar. That is why we call it Swanlinbar. There was----- Senator J. Walsh: They are all one. Is that correct? Colonel O'Sullivan: That was the one where there was too much fuel oil and it did not go off properly. Senator J. Walsh: It was a 500 lb bomb. That was an unsuccessful attempt. 67 Colonel O'Sullivan: They were both unsuccessful. The one in Clones was not set off at all. I do not know why. I have no indication of why it was not set off. The other one functioned partially because the mix was wrong. Senator J. Walsh: How can you then draw the conclusion that they had the expertise? Three bombs went off in Dublin within a short period of each ot her, it seems very professionally. You actually compare them with two instances which you say show the expertise but both of which were failures. Colonel O'Sullivan: One could have been intercepted. They just ran away and left the device there. The other one did not function. I do not know. Senator J. Walsh: Your submission to us refers to Lieutenant Colonel Wylde as relying very much on hearsay and states that "his knowledge of explosive theory appears suspect". The information we have on Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Wylde is that in 1970 he was trained as an ammunition technical officer specialising in guided weapons. Part of the role of the ammunition technical officer is terrorist bomb disposal and explosives ordnance disposal of ordinary conve ntional munitions. From 1974 onwards, he spent the summer, from June through to October, as the officer in command of No. 1 section of the unit in Belfast where he was responsible for all terrorist bomb disposals in that particular area. Given his responsibilities, you seemed to dismiss him rather lightly. Colonel O'Sullivan: The hearsay is in the area of the capacity of the loyalist grouping to have access to explosives - certainly explosives from outside the State. He makes a statement that a William Fulton was captured and somebody told him he had 10 kg of sodium nitrate. 68 Chairman: Thank you very much. We are going to stop. There are a number of items which obviously have to be considered. We will have to look, in committee, at all of the submissions. Senator J. Walsh: May I ask one further question? Chairman: No, we have to stop. Already, two members have left. We will consider in committee all of the submissions which have been made to assess whether and how this matter has been addressed. At this point no conclusions have been arrived at. We will only do that following further deliberation and consideration of all of the submissions sent in. I thank Colonel Kelleher and Colonel O'Sullivan for coming today. It has been most useful. In particular, your expertise in explosive ordnance disposal matters has been very helpful to us for which I thank you. You are excused. Thank you very much. Colonel O'Sullivan: I cannot speak for Colonel Kelleher because of his distance from the committee but if there is any further assistance my staff or I can offer, we will be more than happy to provide it. Chairman: I am very grateful for those comments. Colonel O'Sullivan: It is the wish of the Chief of Staff as well that we give you every assistance possible. 69 Chairman: I appreciate that. Thank you very much. The next hearing is at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 17 February 2004 when the sub-committee will start module 5 of its programme. The sub-committee adjourned at 4.50 p.m. until 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 17 February 2004.
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