Killeen Landmine attack

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Killeen Landmine attack
Part of the Troubles
Killeen Landmine attack is located in Northern Ireland
Killeen Landmine attack
Location Killean, County Armagh,
Northern Ireland
Coordinates 54°7′30.36″N 6°20′18.6″W / 54.1251000°N 6.338500°W / 54.1251000; -6.338500Coordinates: 54°7′30.36″N 6°20′18.6″W / 54.1251000°N 6.338500°W / 54.1251000; -6.338500
Date 20 May 1985
Target Royal Ulster Constabulary personnel
Attack type
Roadside bomb
Deaths 4 RUC Officers
Injured 0
Perpetrator Provisional IRA
South Armagh Brigade

The Killeen Landmine attack took place on the 20 May 1985 when four Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were killed when the Provisional IRA exploded an estimated 1,000 pound roadside bomb hidden in a trailer at Killean, County Armagh.[1] The attack occurred just three months after nine RUC officers were killed and 37 injured in the 1985 Newry mortar attack.[1]


During the 1980s the RUC police force was pushed to the frontline in the fight against the Republican paramilitaries mainly the Provisional IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army as well against the main Loyalist paramilitaries the Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Freedom Fighters and the British Army was given a secondary supporting role. This led to higher deaths and injuries among the RUC, mainly from attacks by the Provisional IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army. In 1985 alone 22 members of the RUC were killed from gun and bomb attacks during the Irish conflict.[1]


The IRA detonated the bomb by remote control while the RUC officers patrol car was stopped under the hidden bomb, they were waiting to escort a security van which was carrying money across the Irish border along the main Dublin - Belfast road. The bomb exploded under the patrol car. Three male officers and one female officer were killed instantly. Bomb experts believed the bomb was estimated to have contained 1,000 lbs (450 kg) worth of explosives. The vehicle was completely destroyed in the blast. The Bomb exploded just seconds after a bus carrying school children passed and about 200 yards away from the border.

The four RUC officers killed were David Baird, Tracy Doak, Stephen Rodgers, and William Wilson.[1]


In Toby Harnden's book Bandit Country, the RUC put the blame on the lucrative figure they called 'The Surgeon' who later rose to become the IRA's commander of the South Armagh's - (North Louth / Dromintee unit). There was also allegations of Garda collusion with the IRA who gave the IRA a tip off.[2]

Secretary of State Douglas Hurd called the attack a sad and fearful tragedy, and added, I cannot think that the banning of Sinn Fein is relevant to the disaster we are talking about today. Garret FitzGerald, called the killings an appalling mass murder

The IRA said in a statement after the attack that the British Government must bear the consequences of the attack because of its policy on Northern Ireland.

This operation was carried out in an area overlooked by observation posts, the statement said, and our ability to strike in this manner will act as a deterrent to other crown forces personnel. Any R.U.C. man or woman who wishes to resign from the force should contact us through a neutral intermediary if that person does not wish to be considered a target. [3]

IRA attacks on the RUC continued. Two officers were killed and three injured in an IRA gun and bomb attack on the RUC station at Ballygawley in Tyrone in December the same year and the station was totally destroyed.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Sutton, Malcolm. "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths". Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Ira Landmine Kill 4 Ruc Constables In Killeen 20th May 1985". World News. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  3. ^ Times, Jo Thomas and Special To the New York. "4 POLICE OFFICERS KILLED IN ULSTER BY A BOMB PLANTED BY THE I.R.A." Retrieved 7 July 2018.
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