TAOISEACH Brian Cowen is appealing a High Court order compelling him to hand over secret files on the Dublin Monaghan bombings.
The files, which were given to the McEntee investigation into the 1974 atrocities, yielded "significant" new material about the blasts which have been withheld from relatives of the dead.
The secret files are being sought by relatives of victims as part of their bid to have a sworn public inquiry into the bombings, which killed 33 people.
But the Irish Independent has learned that the State has appealed the order, paving the way for a legal row over judicial review of executive decisions.
The Government claims that disclosure of the files would pose a risk to life, endanger State security and breach assurances of confidentiality given to those who provided the documents.