Justice at last for the forgotten victims of sectarian murder in Dundalk
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25 Years On.
At exactly 6.22 pm on the evening of Tuesday, 19th. December, 2000, exactly 25 years to the minute after the 1975 bombing of Dundalk, the bells of Saint Patrick's Cathedral on Crowe Street tolled in memory of the dead of that terrible night so long ago. (This account follows closely that of the local Argus newspaper of 22 December.)
The bells of Saint Patrick's tolled as a gathering of more than 100 people assembled at the Town Hall opposite to mark the unveiling of a new commemorative plaque on the wall of the civic building in honour of Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters, who lost their lives in this murderous attack. Among those present were relatives of the late Seamus Ludlow, of Mountpleasant, who was another local victim of Loyalist murder gangs in the Dundalk area.
Chairman of Dundalk Urban Council, Pearse O'Hanrahan (photographed above) spoke of the mixed emotions which both the Rooney and Watters families must have been feeling at this time. "Obviously, there is great sadness as the images of what happened on this night twenty-five years ago come flooding back. The shock, the horror, the disbelief, and then the numbing despair when one faces to the stark fact that a loved one has been taken away, in the most cruel and senseless way."
"An occasion like this also brings to mind the memories that close family and friends share of Jack and Hugh. They were both family men, both well known in the community of Dundalk", added Mr. O'Hanrahan.
They were, he added, decent hard-working people, the kind of people who provide the backbone to any society and in a time when the virtues of decency and duty are not held up to be the great attributes that they are, it is particularly galling that these men lost their lives in such a meaningless fashion.
"As well as the sadness and memories, there are other feelings too. Perhaps there is anger and frustration, and if there is, these are natural reactions. For this is the forgotten crime, not by families and friends, but by the authorities, media and historians", said the Chairman.
The Dundalk bombing, he added, had been wiped from the pages of history, and that must be a source of pain and anger for the families concerned.
"The continuing peace in the north and in the border counties gives hope for the future, and hold out the possibility of life without violence. And this commemorative plaque is another step to ensuring these men will not be forgotten."
"One man's life is not worth Ireland." said Maisie Rooney, widow of Jack, who recalls only too clearly the night of 19th December 1975.
"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't see Jack crossing the door. But I am glad that the bombing has not been forgotten by the people of Dundalk and we are very grateful to al those who put work into the unveiling of this plaque," said Mrs. Rooney.
Also present for the unveiling was Mr. Hugh Brennan, husband of Nancy who tragically lost her life in a car accident on that same night twenty-five years ago when she was travelling to man the telephone exchange during the emergency.
Chairman Pearse O'Hanrahan said: "Her death also leaves a vacant space in the lives of those who knew and loved her. It proves that behind every figure and statistic of deaths and injuries during the troubles, there is a human story, a personal tragedy."
Photographed below (L-R) are Mrs. Maura McKeever, daughter of the late Jack Rooney, her mother Maisie, and Margaret English, daughter of the late Hugh Watters, receiving flowers from Chairman of Dundalk Urban Council Pearse O'Hanrahan, at the unveiling of a memorial plaque at Dundalk's Town Hall in memory of the victims of the Dundalk bombing on 19th December 1975.
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Produced in association with the Ludlow Family.
Last edited: 26 December 2007 10:17:12
Copyright © 2007
the Rooney, Watters and Ludlow families. All rights reserved.