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
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
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
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.