Sackville Place bomb blast victims commemorated

Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 00:00

The 40th anniversary of the Sackville Place bombings has been marked by a wreath-laying ceremony in Dublin by the Justice for the Forgotten organisation .

Two CIÉ workers, George Bradshaw and Thomas Duffy, were killed and several people injured when a car bomb exploded on December 1st, 1972.

Less than two months later, 21-year-old Thomas Douglas from Stirling, Scotland, was killed at the same place by a second blast on January 20th 1973.

The Dublin bombings were the first car bombs to explode in the Republic during the Troubles and took place while legislation to extend the controversial Offences against the State Act was being debated in the Dáil. The amended Act proposed additional powers to detain and question those believed involved in terrorism.

The Fianna Fáil government had been expected to be defeated on the issue. But following the bomb blast, taoiseach Jack Lynch adjourned the House for an hour, after which almost the entire Fine Gael party under leader Liam Cosgrave abstained in the vote and the Bill passed.

British involvement

Despite claims of British involvement in the blasts, no one has ever been arrested or convicted for the bombings. Justice for the Forgotten continues to press the British government to release documents withheld from an inquiry carried out by Judge Henry Barron.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí, Dublin Bus chief executive Paddy Doherty and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin attended the ceremony yesterday. Siptu general secretary Jack O’Connor addressed the gathering and a minute’s silence was observed for victims.

Margaret Irwin of Justice for the Forgotten read a speech in memory of the three men who were killed.

George Bradshaw, a native of Fethard in Tipperary, was 30 when killed. Thomas Duffy, from Mayo, was almost 24 when he was killed and on the day he died was due to work an early shift but changed to facilitate a co-worker.

His son Tom designed the commemorative sculpture A Fallen Bouquet that was unveiled at Sackville Place in 2004.

Ms Irwin said Tommy Douglas, who died at the same site less than two months later, was a “lover of nature and music and a lover of all things Irish”.

Family members of the deceased laid wreaths on the bomb site at Sackville Place .