THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY of the bombings on Sackville Place in Dublin will be marked this morning.
Justice for the Forgotten is to hold a significant commemorative event at 11.30 am today, in conjunction with Dublin Bus. It will hold a wreath-laying ceremony to honour and remember the three busmen who were killed in Sackville Place (off O’Connell Street, next to Clery’s) at the site of the pavement memorial, ‘A Fallen Bouquet’.
Present at the event will be the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí; the CEO of Dublin Bus, Paddy Doherty; and Justice for the Forgotten and family members who will lay a wreath at the site. The oration will be given by Jack O’Connor, General President of SIPTU.
The CIE male voice choir and Grace Bradshaw, grand-daughter of the late Tommy Duffy, who was killed on 1 December 1972, will provide the music.
Monica Duffy-Campbell, widow of Tommy Duffy, said:
It is extremely important to my family that the 40th anniversary is marked. I think many young people don’t even know that these bombings happened – they believe the Troubles were confined to the North. They are absent from the history books.
A series of bombings took place in Dublin in late 1972 and early 1973.
The Dublin bombings that took place on 1 December 1972 were the first car-bombs to explode in the Republic of Ireland, and took place while legislation to amend the Offences against the State Act was being debated in Dáil Éireann.
On 26 November, a bomb exploded outside the rear exit door of the Film Centre Cinema at O’Connell Bridge House during a late night film screening at 1.25am. There were no deaths, but 40 people were injured, some seriously.
The first car-bomb exploded near Liberty Hall. There were no fatalities at this location, but several people were injured and shopfronts were badly damaged.
Fifteen minutes later in Sackville Place, a second car-bomb exploded, killing two busmen – George Bradshaw (29) and Tommy Duffy (23), who were just after leaving the CIE bus company canteen. The canteen had been evacuated as the Belfast Newsletter had received a telephone call from a man saying two bombs would explode in Dublin, in Liberty Hall and Abbey Street behind Clerys department store.
Both Bradshaw and Duffy were married with children.
On 20 January 1973, a few weeks later, a copycat bombing occurred, again in Sackville Place, killing Tommy Douglas (21) from Stirling, Scotland. Again a caller had given a warning, this time a man who called 10 minutes before the bomb was detonated, telling the telephone exchange in Exchequer Street that there was a bomb in O’Connell Street at the Bridge.
Nobody has ever been arrested or convicted of these bombings.
A number of inquiries into the bombings have taken place, and Justice for the Forgotten continues to press the British Government for the release of undisclosed documents withheld from Judge Henry Barron’s Inquiry.
Most recently, they spoke with him about the documents during a meeting with the British Ambassador in September 2012.
The Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974 took place a year after the first Dublin bombings. In these, 33 civilians were killed and almost 300 were wounded, the highest number of casualties in any one day during the Troubles.