The nine attacks — a litany of terror and death

KAY’S TAVERN IN DUNDALK

On December 19, 1975, a car bomb exploded outside Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk killing two people, Hugh Watters, 60, and Jack Rooney, 62. Nobody was every charged. Judge Barron concluded that the bombing was carried out by Loyalist extremists, probably from the Mid Ulster UVF.

He found the security forces in the North knew or should have known but that it was impossible to prove or disprove allegations of collusion.

THE BOMBING AT CASTLEBLAYNEY

On March 7, 1976, a car bomb exploded outside the Three Star Inn in Castleblayney killing Patrick Mone, a 56-year-old farmer. Another 26 people were injured.

The garda investigation report concluded that somebody from the North was responsible.

The explosive had been provided by a named UDR officer and were stored in a farmhouse in Glennane.

The target may have been the Derry to Dublin Ulsterbus, due to arrive at the exact spot that night. Nobody from the Gardaí got in contact with the families after the first statement was given.

THE DUBLIN AIRPORT BOMBING

On 29 November, 1975, a bomb exploded in a cubicle in the gents toilet on the ground floor of the airport, killing John Francis Hayes, 38, from Balbriggan and injuring five others.

The Belfast brigade of the UDA claimed responsibility. Nobody was ever prosecuted and the investigation was quickly abandoned.

GUN AND BOMB ATTACK AT DONNELLY’S BAR

It happened on December 19, 1975, the same evening as the Kay’s Tavern bombing. Three people were killed at Donnelly’s and it’s believed the two attacks were linked. It was claimed by the Red Hand Commandos, a cover name used by subversives for attacks not sanctioned by the UVF leadership.

A man drove up after 9pm and started shooting. One or two gunmen went into the pub and started shooting for 30 seconds or so. As they left, one of them threw a bomb into the bar, killing three persons, Patrick Donnelly, 24; Michael Donnelly, 14, and Trevor Brecknell, 32.

No person was ever charged.

GUN ATTACK ON THE REAVEY FAMILY

On January 4, 1976, three sons of the Reavey family were watching television in the living room of their home near Markethill, Co Armagh, when three masked gunmen entered the house, and one of them started firing a machine gun.

All three brothers, John Martin, Brian and Anthony died as a result of the attack. Another brother, Eugene, said that an RUC officer had identified three people as being involved in the attack. The case was never pursued.

BOMB ATTACK ON STEP INN IN KEADY

On August 16, 1976, a bomb exploded in the Step Inn in Keady. Two people died, Gerald McGleenan, 22, and Betty McDonald.

GUN ATTACK ON THE O’DOWD FAMILY

On January 4, 1975, three masked man arrived at the house in Gilford, Co Down, where 16 members of the family were present. They opened fire without warning killing three male members of the family — Barry, Declan and Joe O’Dowd. Áine O’Dowd was also injured. The family may have been targeted because some worked in the SDLP. A former RUC officer, John Weir, alleged they had been shot by a named person.

THE ATTACK ON THE ROCK BAR

On June 5, 1976, a gun and bomb attack on the Three Rock Bar near Keady in Co Armagh injured a number of people. Over two years later, an RUC sergeant confessed his involvement in the attack and two other RUC officers later admitted they participated in the attack. A further officer was prosecuted.

One officer was sentenced to seven years but the three others received a suspended sentence.

GUN AMBUSH ON THE MIAMI SHOWBAND

On July 30, 1975, the Miami Showband played a gig at the Castle Ballroom in Banbridge, Co Down. Five members of the band travelled south in a minibus in the early hours of the morning. At around 2.30am on July 31, the bus was flagged down by a group of armed men wearing army-type uniforms. The band members were told to stand outside the van with their hands on their heads.

A few seconds later there was a loud explosion from the rear of the van and two of the gunmen were killed instantly. There were than a number of bursts of gunfire.

Three of the band were killed. They were the lead singer, Fran O’Toole, Anthony Geraghty and Brian McCoy. Stephen Travers was badly injured and Des McAlea managed to escape by fleeing across a field.

Two members of the UDR were subsequently charged with murder, were convicted and imprisoned for life. A former member of the UDR was also imprisoned at a later stage.

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