Hopes U2 can help bring closure for 1974 justice campaign

Victims, relatives of deceased in Dublin, Monaghan bombs are guests at concerts

Derek Byrne, survivor, Anthony and Pat Phelan who lost their sister Marie in the Talbot street explosion, and Margaret Urwin of Justice for the Forgotten, with families and survivors of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, arriving for the U2  show  at the 3 Arena, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Derek Byrne, survivor, Anthony and Pat Phelan who lost their sister Marie in the Talbot street explosion, and Margaret Urwin of Justice for the Forgotten, with families and survivors of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, arriving for the U2 show at the 3 Arena, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Men and women who were injured in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974 – as well as the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy – have spoken of their hope that U2 can help in their quest for justice.

The Dublin band began a series of concerts in Dublin last night, featuring the song Raised by Wolves, which highlights the loss of life in the unsolved atrocity.

The song is accompanied by a pictorial and video display from the time, featuring images of the scenes and the sound of explosions on stage.

The band invited the injured victims, and relatives of the 34 deceased, to the concerts at the O3 Arena. A group of about 30 attached to the Justice for the Forgotten campaign group were in attendance last night, with more to be guests of the band again tonight.

Theresa Ryan, who lost her mother Maureen Shields (42) in one of the no-warning car bombs, on Dublin’s Talbot Street, lived on the same road as Larry Mullen when she was growing up – Rosemount Avenue in Artane.

“We would have known them growing up and he was always banging on drums in the garage,” she recalled.

“I don’t know whether this will stir up anything. But for us just to get some kind of closure, which we obviously don’t have; somebody to own up and say ‘we are responsible’.

“People might ask why we need to know this now, but 40 years on … , all of those people were killed for no reason.”

Ms Ryan’s mother had driven in to Talbot Street to surprise her husband Leo, who worked in Guiney’s clothes shop. She planned to give him a lift to the family home in Artane. She was killed in the blast just outside the shop.

The family were unaware their mother was at the location. And while their father was in Guiney’s and was uninjured by the blast, by the early hours of the following morning, when nothing had been heard from Ms Shields, they began to fear the worst.

“Mammy never returned,” Ms Ryan said. “My brother Aidan was 19 years old at the time, four years older than me. When he got home that night he had to go to the hospitals and when that didn’t work, to the mortuary. He still never talks about it.

“My father then died the following March 12 months. He just never got over it.”

Ms Ryan went to college in Limerick after her father died, while her brother remained at the family home in Artane. Their 11-year-old sister went to live with an aunt and uncle in Tipperary.

“You don’t realise it at the time I guess, but it meant we were all separated.”