Justice at last for the forgotten victims of sectarian murder in Dundalk
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The Irish News, 6 July 2006:
Hope that collusion theories may be brought to surface
By Valerie Robinson
Relatives of those killed in a series of loyalist attacks on both sides of the border in the mid-1970s hope the final Baron report will lead to full public inquiries in all their cases.
The report by former supreme Court judge Mr Justice Henry Barron contains findings of his investigations into a number of murders shrouded by secrecy for three decades.
The Republic was still in shock following the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings - in which 33 people died, including a pregnant woman - when loyalist killers struck again, targeting Dundalk.
Loyalists considered the Co. Louth town a hotbed of republican sympathy when the Red Hand Commando planted a car bomb outside Kay's Tavern on Crowe Street on December 19 1975.
The blast injured more than 20 people and claimed the lives of 60-year-old tailor Hugh Watters and Jack Rooney (61), a retired fireman working as a lorry driver. No one was ever charged.
Author Joe Tiernan has claimed two of the men behind the Dundalk bombing may have been responsible for as many as 150 Catholic murders during the 1970s and 1980s.
On the same day as the Dundalk explosion, a gun and bomb attack on Donnelly's Bar in Silverbridge in south Armagh left Trevor Brecknell (32), Patrick Donnelly (24) and Michael Donnelly (14) dead and six people injured.
The bar owners later said six RUC men had visited them a week before the attack seeking information about exits from the bar and the owners' private dwelling.
The Red Hand Commando claimed responsibility for the murders.
No charges were ever brought in connection with the attack.
In July 1975, three members of the popular Miami Showband were mown down by UVF gunmen in another horrific attack.
Fran O'Toole, Brian McCoy and Tony Geraghty died after gunmen opened fire on the band's minibus close to Newry as the musicians made their way home from a gig in Belfast.
Band members Steven Travers and Des Lee survived while two loyalists also died when the bomb they had been attempting to plant on the minibus exploded prematurely.
A year later, Thomas Raymond Crozier and Rodney Shane McDowell, both from Lurgan, were sentenced for their part in the bloody ambush.
Mr Travers has spoken of his belief that security forces colluded with the UVF gang involved in the Miami massacre.
Four months later, father-of-three John Hayes died and nine people were injured when a bomb exploded in the terminal at Dublin Airport on November 29 1975. The attack was claimed by the UDA.
An IRA man recently claimed to have told gardai that an attack was being planned on the airport two months before the blast.
No-one was ever charged with Mr Hayes' murder.
Loyalists struck again in the Republic when a car bomb exploded outside the packed Three Star Inn in the centre of Castleblayney on March 7 1976, killing middle-aged farmer Patrick Mone.
The Ford Cortina used in the attack had been stolen from Belfast's Shankhll Road and fitted with false documents.
The Castleblayney bombing was another in a series of loyalist attacks for which no-one was ever charged.
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Download the Barron Report on the Dundalk bombing from the Oireachtas website.
See the Irish News: "Relatives 'furious' over Barron report blunder
See also The Irish News online breaking news, 5 July 2006: Pub bombers 'treated better than victims' families'
See also: Oireachtas press release of 5 July 2006.
Daily Ireland, 6 July 2006: Blast victim’s relative hits out
The Irish Examiner, 6 July 2006: Loyalists had licence to kill Catholics, finds inquiry
The Irish Independent, 6 July 2006: Bombers 'treated better than victims'
The Irish News, 6 July 2006: Relatives want 1975 bombing inquiry
The Irish News, 6 July 2006: Horror lives on for bar owner
The Irish News, 6 July 2006: Report points to RUC reservist's farm as base for UVF operations
LMFM Radio online news report, 6 July 2006: Hearings into report on Dundalk bombing to begin in September
TOM News, 6 July 2006: Latest Barron Report Highlights Need for Ahern-Blair Summit on Collusion
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Produced in association with the Ludlow Family.
Last edited: 09 July 2006 17:21:38
Copyright © 2006 the Rooney, Watters and Ludlow families.
All rights reserved. Revised: July 09, 2006 .