CAIN Web Service
- Summary of Main Events
Page Compiled: Martin Melaugh
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Since this was the most devastating day of violence in Belfast up to that time, and many of the injured suffered serious mutilation, the impact on public opinion was enormous, and many observers regarded it as a point at which PIRA [Provisional Irish Republican Army] put itself outside the pale of political negotiation.
Flackes and Elliott (1994) Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1993
Many watching the television news reports were reduced to tears by horrifying pictures of firemen and rescue workers ... scraping up the remains of human beings into plastic bags ...
Bardon (1992) A History of Ulster
'Bloody Friday' is the name given to the events that occurred in Belfast on Friday 21 July 1972. During the afternoon of 'Bloody Friday' the Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted and exploded 22 bombs which, in the space of 75 minutes, killed 9 people and seriously injured approximately 130 others. In addition to the bombs there were numerous hoax warnings about other explosive devices which added to the chaos in the streets that afternoon. Many people believe these hoax warnings were deliberately used to reduce the effectiveness of the security forces in dealing with the real bombs.
As the quotes above make clear, the killing and maiming had a profound impact on most people in Northern Ireland. 'Bloody Friday' also led to the decision by the British Government to implement 'Operation Motorman' when, in the biggest British military operation since the 1956 Suez crisis, the British Army entered and ended the 'no-go' areas of Belfast and Derry.