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Photograph: The late Mr. Hugh Watters, a self-employed tailor, aged 60, who was murdered by the loyalist bombing of Dundalk, 19 December 1975.   The Dundalk Bombing.

19th December 1975.

A Profile.

On Friday 19th December 1975 at 6.22 pm a car bomb containing 150 lbs. of explosives exploded with no warning outside "Kay's Tavern" public house, Crowe Street, Dundalk, County Louth. Two men died and 21 people were injured in the blast. Mr. Hugh Watters died instantly and Mr. Jack Rooney, who died of his injuries three days later, were both aged 60. Mr. Rooney was buried on Christmas Eve 1975. 

Photograph:The late Mr. Jack Rooney, a council worker, aged 60, who was murdered by the loyalist bombing of Dundalk, 19 December 1975.A number of telephone calls to radio stations and newsrooms claimed that the "Red Hand Commando" group planted the bomb. This gang was a cover name for the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) incorporating members of the British security forces.

In the aftermath of the bombings in Dundalk in 1975, neither the families of Mr. Watters or Mr. Rooney  or the 21 other people injured were ever informed by the Garda Siochana who the people responsible for the attack were. Both the families of Mr. Rooney and Mr. Watters were intimidated and harassed by the Garda Special Branch in the form of being spied upon and their movements monitored, for months after the bombing. It was even said by the security forces in Dundalk that the "Provisional IRA" carried out the bomb attack - which, of course, was totally untrue.

For over 20 years both the Rooney and Waters families and the 21 other injured parties were never told by the Gardai who really carried out the bombing or at what level the Garda investigation reached in June 1998. An informant approached both the Rooney and Watters families about the bombing and stated that they - "the Gardai" - knew within weeks after the bomb attack who carried it out, where the attack was planned and the names of the people whop carried it out.

The informant told both families that the attack was carried out by the Mid Ulster UVF, based in Portadown, County Armagh. The leader of the UVF gang was Robin Jackson, also known as "The Jackal", who was the Commander of the UVF in Mid Ulster and his named cohorts.

The farmhouse in Glenanne, County Armagh, owned by the RUC reservist, where the bomb was made and stored, and the names of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) officers (husband and wife) who made and assembled the bomb were revealed. 

The farmhouse in Glenanne, Co. Armagh, was the base for a number of gun and bomb attacks carried out by the notorious UVF gang, ie. the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974 and the Miami Showband Massacre of July 1975. Permutations of this same UVF gang carried out the bomb and gun attack on Donnelly's Bar in Silverbridge, County Armagh, with three dead and many injured, on the same night as the bomb was planted outside "Kay's Tavern", in Dundalk.

Both the families of Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters, and the 21 people injured by the bombing demand some answers to very serious questions.

The Questions Are:

Did the Garda ever ask the RUC to arrest and question any of the UVF suspects?

Did the Garda Special Branch have any prior information that a bomb attack was imminent in Dundalk?

Why did the Garda not inform the families of the dead and injured that they - the Garda - had up to eight prime suspects for the bomb attack?

Up to what level did the Garda investigation go?

Why were the families not kept up to date on how the Garda investigation was going and if the the evidence was suppressed who gave the order for it to be withheld?


Margaret English and Maura McKeever, daughters of the two men murdered in the loyalist bombing of Kay's Tavern Crowe Street, Dundalk, in 1975, are seen here after receiving the Barron Report on the Dundalk bombing.It has been agreed by the Irish Government that the Dundalk bombing of 1975 should be included in the Henry Barron Enquiry (formerly known as the "Hamilton Enquiry"). The Barron Report was finally published on 5 July 2006.

The families of the Dundalk bombing are appealing to anyone who was injured in the attack or anyone with further information to contact Mr. James McGuill, the solicitor dealing with the case at (042)  933 4026.

All details will be dealt with in strictest confidence.

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Last edited: 13 July 2006 17:18:26

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Revised: July 13, 2006 .