2010 Newry car bombing

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2010 Newry car bombing
Part of the Dissident Irish Republican campaign
Location Newry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Date 22 February 2010
20:53 (UTC)
Attack type
car bomb
Deaths 0
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrators
Real IRA

The 2010 Newry car bombing occurred on the night of 22 February 2010. A car bomb exploded outside a courthouse in Newry, Northern Ireland. The car bomb damaged the courthouse and other buildings in the area. There were no fatalities or injuries.

The bombing

The incident happened late at night. Seventeen minutes before the bomb exploded a telephone warning was received saying that a car bomb was somewhere in the centre of Newry and that it would go off in half an hour. The police removed people from their homes and the centre of the town. The car was a Mazda 6 loaded with 115 kg[1] of explosives. The car exploded next to the gates of a courthouse. The bomb was felt and heard from two miles away. The bomb blast damaged the courthouse and other buildings in the area.[2][3] A 170-year-old church had its windows blown out;[4] three people were inside the church when the bomb exploded, but they were uninjured.[5] The bombers phoned in a warning that police should clear the area because a bomb would go off in 30 minutes, in fact it went off in 17 minutes.[2] Because of the size of the bomb, the police termed it a "sheer miracle" that no one was injured.[2]

According to the BBC, it is thought that this was the first "large car bomb" to have exploded in Northern Ireland since the 2000 bombing of the Stewartstown police station.[2] Other car bombs have failed to explode, or have only partially exploded.[2]

The bombing is thought to have been an attempt to undo the 2010 Hillsborough Castle Agreement, although the fact that it came two weeks after the Agreement was signed is thought to reflect the militant's limited operational capacity.[2]

According to Fachtna Murphy, Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, this was "the first bomb that exploded in the North in 10 or 11 years."[6]


The next day the area was sealed off as police investigated. Shops were closed and traffic backed up on the motorway between Newry and Belfast.[2] The large explosion caused "traffic chaos" across the city.[7]


The Real Irish Republican Army was blamed for the bombing in Newry but on 27 May a 32-year-old man was arrested for the bombing. A day before that a 51-year-old man appeared in the same court charged with the car bombing.[8]

Responses and impact

Hillary Clinton, the American Secretary of State, condemned the bombing but insisted that it would "not destabilise the peace process".[2]

The Newry car bombing is taken as evidence that "hardline Republicans" continue to have the ability to carry out terror attacks in Northern Ireland,[9] although they no longer have the operational strength to do so in Britain itself.[10][11] The Newry car bombing was one of several cross-border attacks into Northern Ireland in 2009–10.[10] Others included a car bombing of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.[12] There are fears that the terrorists will be able to use these "successful" bombings to recruit.[9][13]

The operational strength of dissident republican groups as demonstrated by this bombing continues to concern Irish security forces as of September 2010. According to Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, "A bomb exploded in Newry some months ago and that's the first bomb that exploded in the North since Omagh. That is significant in itself in that it tells us they are endeavouring to improve their capability all the time."[14]

Politically, the attack was alleged by the Belfast Telegraph to have led some loyalists "to believe the older leadership called it wrong—that they decommissioned far too soon."[15]

Writing in the Boston Globe, Kevin Cullen cited the Newry court bombing as evidence not only of the continued existence of an "irredentist rump", but of the continuation of a social situation in which the two groups are still "bitterly divided" and "deeply segregated."[16]

See also


  1. ^ Bowcott, Owen, Newry court bombing: government denies complacency, [1], The Guardian, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Sheer miracle" that Newry court bomb did not kill, [2], BBC News, 2010
  3. ^ Arnold, Adam, Appeal After Car Bombing Outside NI Court, [3], Sky News, 2010.
  4. ^ Church damaged in city bomb blast, [4], BBC News, 2010
  5. ^ " Dissidents 'sent warning' before car bomb exploded outside Northern Ireland court," 24 February 2010, Brisbane Times, Brisbane, Australia.
  6. ^ "Dissident threat growing – Ahern," Coner Laly, 3 October 2010, Irish Times.
  7. ^ "Dissidents are 'aiming to murder'" 5 April 2010, Belfast Today.
  8. ^ "Second arrest over Newry courthouse bomb – Local & National, News". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Analysis: Deadly copycat campaign right out of IRA’s manual," Brian Rowan, 23 April 2010, Belfast Telegraph.
  10. ^ a b "Gardaí say dissidents no threat to Britain," Cormac O’Keeffe, 18 September 2010, Irish Examiner.
  11. ^ "Murphy says attack on Britain 'a strong possibility'" BBC, 28 September 2010.
  12. ^ Dissident republicans blamed for 400lb bomb after Christmas 'spectacular' threat The Times, 23 Nov 2009.
  13. ^ "Dissident threat level increases," Vincent Kearney, 22 April 2010, BBC.
  14. ^ Garda chief warns of threat posed by republicans Conor Lally, 29 September 2010, Irish Times.
  15. ^ "Dissident attacks provoke growing loyalist unrest," 15 April 2010, Belfast Telegraph.
  16. ^ A segregated peace — Is this how Northern Ireland was supposed to turn out? Kevin Cullen, 14 March 2010, The Boston Globe.
  • [5] Car bomb explodes at Newry courthouse-source-BBC News
  • [6] Assembly condemns Newry bombers-source-BBC News

Coordinates: 54°10′47″N 6°20′06″W / 54.1797°N 6.3351°W / 54.1797; -6.3351

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