1975 Conway's Bar attack

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Conway's Bar attack
Part of the Troubles
Location Shore Road Belfast,
Northern Ireland
Date 13 March 1975
20:30 (GMT)
Attack type
Time bomb
Weapons Explosives and a revolver
Deaths 2
Non-fatal injuries
15
Perpetrator Ulster Volunteer Force Belfast Brigade

The 1975 Conway's Bar attack was a failed gun and bomb attack by the Loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) paramilitary group. On 13 March 1975 a unit from the UVF's Belfast Brigade attempted to bomb the Catholic owned Peter Conway's bar on the Shore Road in Greencastle, Belfast. The bomb exploded prematurely, killing a Catholic civlian woman and one of the UVF bombers.[1]

Background

By 1975, the religious-political conflict in Northern Ireland known as "the Troubles"— was more than six years old. By the start of that year, over 1,200 people had been killed in the conflict and thousands more were injured. On 10 February 1975, the Provisional IRA and the British government entered into a truce and restarted negotiations. The IRA agreed to halt attacks on the British security forces, and the security forces mostly ended its raids and searches. However, there were dissenters on both sides. Some Provisionals wanted no part of the truce, while British commanders resented being told to stop their operations against the IRA just when—they claimed—they had the Provisionals on the run.

Loyalists especially the UVF were immediately suspicious about the truce between the government and the IRA and believed the government was about to "sell them out" to a United Ireland. Their response to the truce was to intensify their campaign against the Irish Nationalist and Catholic community.

Attack

Conway's Bar had been bombed several times before by Loyalists and this was the fifth attempt in the space of five years. Almost exactly a year earlier the UVF bombed the bar on 29 March 1974 killing two Catholic civilians, James Mitchell (38) and Joeseph Donnelly (24).[2]

On 13 March 1975 a UVF unit drove to Conway's bar on the Shore Road with a 50 lb gas cylinder bomb. The unit included UVF volunteers Eddie Kinner, Martin Snodden and George Brown. UVF intelligence told the unit that an IRA meeting was taking place inside the bar at 20:30 that night. The bomb had a 40-second fuse on it and the unit was instructed to leave the bomb in the bar hallway, light the fuse and then leave. The unit placed the bomb in the hallway but as they did so somebody opened the door and knocked the bomb over and setting it off prematurely. One of the UVF volunteers George Brown was killed in the blast and a Catholic woman Marie Doyle (38) was also killed. Eddie Kinner was badly injured, about 15 people drinking inside the bar were also injured in the blast. An angry crowd identified and chased Martin Snodden on to the M2 motorway and badly beat him before he was rescued by military police just before the mob was about to hang him from a bridge with rope. Both Snodden and Kinner received lengthy sentences for their part in the bombing.[3]

Aftermath

A month later on 5 April in retaliation for the Conway's bombing[citation needed] Provisional IRA volunteers using the covername Republican Action Force bombed a pub on the Shankill Road killing five Protestants including one UDA member in the Mountainview Tavern bombing and a further 60 people were injured in the attack.

In an interview with journalist Peter Taylor for a documentary series on Loyalist paramilitaries Martin Snodden expressed regret at his part in the Conway bar attack that killed the Catholic woman Marie Doyle, saying he only intended to target Republican paramilitaries. Kinner was less sympathetic and believed only sectarian attacks of such nature could make the IRA end their campaign.[citation needed]

See also

Sources

References

  1. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=13&month=03&year=1975
  2. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=29&month=03&year=1974
  3. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-11-28/news/9411280222_1_northern-ireland-protestant-shankill-road/2

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