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Dublin and Monaghan Bombs - Chronology of Events



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Page Compiled: Martin Melaugh
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Dublin and Monaghan Bombs - Chronology of Events

Friday 1 December 1972
Two Killed by Bombs in Dublin
Two people were killed and 127 injured when two car bombs exploded in the centre of Dublin, Republic of Ireland. At 7.58pm a car bomb detonated in Eden Quay close to Liberty Hall, Dublin. At 8.16pm the second car bomb exploded in Sackville Place (near O'Connell Street), Dublin. Two men, George Bradshaw (30) and Thomas Duff (23) both CIE bus conductors, were killed in the second explosion. An inadequate warning had been telephoned to the 'Newsletter' (a Belfast based newspaper) by a man with an English accent a few minutes before the first explosion. [No organisation claimed responsibility for the bombings but blame initially fell on the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Much later suspicion fell on the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). At the time of the explosions the Dáil had been debating the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill. The amendment would have given the State much greater powers against the IRA. In particular it meant that suspected members of paramilitary groups could be sentenced on the word of a senior police officer in front of three judges. Prior to the explosions many commentators felt the Bill would fail. However following the explosions there was a one-hour adjournment after which Fine Gael (FG) abstained in the vote and the amendment was passed. In 1973 two English brothers, Kenneth and Keith Littlejohn claimed, during a robbery trial, that they were British agents who had been ordered to infiltrate the Official IRA. They claimed to have acted as 'agent provocateurs'. Many people in the Republic expressed the suspicion that the bombings had been part of a British covert operation to influence legislation in the Dáil.]

Saturday 20 January 1973
Man Killed by Bomb in Dublin
A car bomb exploded in Sackville Place, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and killed one person and injured 17 others. The person killed was Thomas Douglas (25). The car used in the bombing had been hijacked at Agnes Street, Belfast. [No organisation claimed responsibility but the bomb was believed to have been planted by one of the Loyalist paramilitary organisations.]

Friday 17 May 1974
Dublin and Monaghan Bombings; 33 People Killed
Day 3 of the UWC strike
33 civilians and an unborn child were killed in the Republic of Ireland as a result of a series of explosions when four car bombs were planted by Loyalist paramilitaries in Dublin and Monaghan. Approximately 258 people were also injured in the explosions. The death toll from the bombings was the largest in any single day of the conflict. No one was ever arrested or convicted of causing the explosions. [On 15 July 1993 the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) claimed sole responsibility for carrying out the bomb attacks.]
In Dublin three car bombs exploded, almost simultaneously at approximately 5.30pm, in Parnell Street, Talbot Street, and South Leinster Street. 23 men, women and children died in these explosions and 3 others died as a result of injuries over the following few days. Another car bomb exploded at approximately 7.00pm in North Road, Monaghan, killing 5 people initially with another 2 dying in the following weeks.
The first of the three Dublin bombs went off at approximately 5.28pm in Parnell Street. Eleven people died as a result of this explosion. The second of the Dublin bombs went off at approximately 5.30pm in Parnell Street. Fourteen people died in this explosion. The third bomb went off at approximately 5.32pm in South Leinster Street. Two people were killed in this explosion.
News of car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan raised tensions in Northern Ireland. Sammy Smyth, then press officer of both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) Strike Committee, said, "I am very happy about the bombings in Dublin. There is a war with the Free State and now we are laughing at them."

Sunday 7 July 1974
A report on the Monaghan bombing investigation was completed by the Garda Síochána (the Irish police).

Tuesday 9 July 1974
[The Barron Report (published on 15 December 2003) revealed that the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) Chief Superintendent in charge of the investigation into the Dublin bombings on 17 May 1974 had written a memo (on 9 July 1974) which noted that "the investigation unit Ö have returned to their stations". Over the years the Garda Síochána investigation of the bombings has been heavily criticised.]

Friday 9 August 1974
A report on the Dublin bombings investigation was completed by the Garda Síochána (the Irish police). [A number of further inquiries were carried out by the Garda Síochána between 1974 and 1976 but nothing of consequence resulted.]

Friday 19 December 1975
Two Killed By Loyalist Bomb in Dundalk

Two men were killed as a result of a car bomb planted by the Red Hand Commandos (RHC), a group closely associated with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), outside Kay's Tavern, Crowe Street, Dundalk, County Louth. [Hugh Walters (60) was killed immediately and Jack Rooney (61) died later on 22 December 1975 as a result of his injuries.]

Tuesday 6 July 1993
Yorkshire Television broadcast a documentary entitled 'Hidden Hand - the Forgotten Massacre' made as part of its 'First Tuesday' series. The programme dealt with the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974. [The programme came to the conclusion that the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) would have required assistance to carry out the bomb attacks. There was speculation as to where such assistance might have come from. While no firm conclusions were reached, it was suggested that the security forces in Northern Ireland were the most likely source of help. Allegations concerning the existence of a covert British Army unit based at Castledillon were considered; as well as alleged links between that unit and Loyalist paramilitaries. It was shown that Merlyn Rees, the former Secretary of Sate, had known of the unitís existence. On 15 July 1993 the UVF issued a statement in which it claimed sole responsibility for the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings.]

Thursday 15 July 1993
The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) released a statement in which the organisation admitted sole responsibility for the Dublin and Monaghan bombs on 17 May 1974. The statement was issued in response to the television documentary 'Hidden Hand - the Forgotten Massacre' broadcast on 6 July 1993.

Tuesday 22 July 1997
The relatives of the 33 people killed by bombs in Dublin and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland on 17 May 1974, said that they would take the case to Europe because of the failure of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) to establish a murder inquiry.

Wednesday 23 July 1997
In the European Parliament, MEPs from many countries supported a call for the release of files related to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in the Republic of Ireland on 17 May 1974 which resulted in the deaths of 33 people. The relatives of those killed claimed that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) had hampered the investigations of the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) . [Although the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) admitted responsibility for the bombs many commentators claimed that there had also been British Intelligence involvement.]

Wednesday 27 August 1997
Relatives of the 33 people killed in bombings in Dublin and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland on 17 May 1974 failed in their court attempt to get the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) to release the files on their investigations of the bombings.

Friday 26 September 1997
A memorial to the 33 people who were killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombs in the Republic of Ireland on 17 May 1974 was unveiled in Talbot Street in Dublin.

Wednesday 3 June 1998
'The Irish Times' (a Dublin based newspaper) carried a report on the death, due to cancer, of Robin Jackson on Saturday 30 May 1998. The report claimed that Jackson was the infamous Loyalist killer of the 1970s and 1980s known as 'The Jackal'. The report stated that he had been commander of the Mid-Ulster Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) from 1972 to the 1990s and had been responsible for the deaths of dozens of Catholic civilians. Jackson was also implicated in the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings on 17 May 1974 which resulted in the deaths of 33 civilians.

Sunday 16 May 1999
Members of 'Justice For the Forgotten', the campaign group representing families of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings on 17 May 1974, held a wreath-laying ceremony in Dublin. The group called for a full public Inquiry into the bombings.

Thursday 5 August 1999
A Report of the Victims' Commission into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings recommended the appointment of a former Supreme Court judge to inquire privately into events surrounding the bombings which killed 33 people and injured approximately 258 people. Although it was announced that the findings would be made public, the victims and relatives of those killed in the bombings wanted the immediate establishment of a public tribunal of Inquiry.

Sunday 19 December 1999
Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), announced the appointment of Justice Liam Hamilton to undertake a thorough examination, involving fact finding and assessment of all aspects of the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings in 1974. [The terms of reference were agreed on 15 February 2000. Hamiltion became ill in October 2000 and stood down from the Inquiry. He was succeeded by Justice Henry Barron.]

Tuesday 15 February 2000
Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), agreed and published the terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974. [The Commission of Inquiry began its work in February 2000, with a minimal staff consisting of the Sole Member, Liam Hamilton, the former Chief Justice, a legal assistant, and a secretary. Subsequently, the Commission on Inquiry was asked to conduct similar Inquiries into the bombing of Kayís Tavern, Dundalk, on 19 December 1975, and the shooting of Seamus Ludlow on 2 May 1976. The Inquiry was also asked to look into the shooting of Brid Carr in 1971; bombings in Dublin on 1 December 1972 and 20 January 1973; and other bombings within the State. These inquiries were to be dealt with separately.]

October 2000
Justice Henry Barron was appointed as Sole Member of the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings. Barron was appointed to succeed Justice Liam Hamilton who was forced to step down due to illness.

Friday 10 November 2000
The Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings wrote a letter to Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, seeking assistance with matters related to the Inquiry. [Further correspondence took place throughout 2001 but no information was supplied by the British government until 26 February 2002.]

Tuesday 13 November 2001
Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), suggested in the Dáil that the British government had been slow to co-operate with the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings on 17 May 1974 in which 33 people were killed. It was announced that Justice Henry Barron, from the Republic of Ireland, would meet John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to ask for access to British files on the bombings. Barron first requested the files on 10 November 2000. [There have been persistent allegations that British security forces colluded with Loyalist paramilitaries in the bombings.]

Monday 21 January 2002
The Northern Ireland Assembly debated a motion tabled by Monica McWilliams, then member of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC), and supported by the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI). The motion called on the British government to provide security documents on the Loyalist bombings in Dublin and Monaghan (on 17 May 1974) to the Commission of Inquiry taking place in the Republic of Ireland. The NIWC had been approached by the organisation Justice For the Forgotten seeking aid to secure the documents given an alleged slow response by the British government. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) opposed the motion but it was passed in a vote. [A letter dated 26 February 2002 was sent by John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to the Commission of Inquiry.]

Tuesday 26 February 2002
John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, wrote to the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings providing a response to a letter sent by the Inquiry on 10 November 2000. [The information was provided in the form of a ten-page. An appendix to the letter consisting of six pages gave details concerning the structure and control of intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.]

Wednesday 29 October 2003
'The Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings' [The Barron Report] was presented to Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). [The report was made public on 10 December 2003.]

Friday 10 December 2003
The 'Interim Report on the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings' [The Barron Report; PDF File; 1,922KB] was published by the Department of the Taoiseach, Dublin. Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), issued a statement to coincide with the publication of the Report.

 


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