Tag Archives: Droppin Well bombing

6th December – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

6th December

Monday 6 December 1971

A woman died trying to salvage property from the Salvation Army Citadel in Belfast when a wall fell on her. Earlier there had been a bomb which started a large fire in an ajoining building.

Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, met with Reginald Maudling, then British Home Secretary, in London.

Thursday 6 December 1973

William Craig, then leader of Vanguard, Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and Harry West, then leader of the grouping called the Ulster Unionist Assembly Party, held a joint rally in the Ulster Hall and formed the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) to try to oppose power-sharing and to bring down the power-sharing Executive.

The rally was attended by approximately 600 delegates from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) constituency associations.

Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 December 1973

Sunningdale Agreement The Civil Service Staff College at Sunningdale in England played host to a conference to try to resolve the remaining difficulties surrounding the setting up of the power-sharing Executive for Northern Ireland.

Sunningdale was the first occasion since 1925 that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), and the Northern Ireland government – in the form of the Northern Ireland Executive (designate) – had attended the same talks on the future of Northern Ireland.

Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, and Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach, and senior ministers attended in addition to representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI). The participants discussed a number of matters but the main item of concern centred on the unresolved issue of the ‘Irish Dimension’ of any future government of Northern Ireland. Proposals surrounding this ‘Irish Dimension’ were finally to be agreed in the form of a proposed Council of Ireland. The elements of the proposed Council were that it would consist of a Council of Ministers and a Consultative Assembly.

The Council of Ministers was to be comprised of seven members from the Northern Ireland Executive and seven members of the Irish government. This Council would have executive and harmonising functions and a consultative role. The Consultative Assembly was to be made up of 30 members from the Northern Ireland Assembly and the same number from the Dáil. This Assembly was to have advisory and review functions.

[A communiqué was issued on 9 December 1973.]

[ Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Saturday 6 December 1975

Balcombe Street Siege British police chased a group of four Irish Republican Army (IRA) men through the West End of London. There was a car chase and an exchange of gunfire before the IRA members took over a council flat in Balcombe Street and held the married couple living in the flat hostage.

[This marked the beginning of a six-day siege during which time the IRA members demanded a plane to take them to the Republic of Ireland. The siege ended when the hostages were released unharmed and the IRA members surrendered to police.]

See Balcombe Street Siege 

Two members of the IRA were killed when the land mine they were preparing exploded prematurely near Killeen, County Armagh.

Monday 6 December 1982

Droppin Well bombing

droppin_well

‘Droppin Well’ Bomb The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) exploded a bomb at the Droppin’ Well Bar and Disco in Ballykelly, County Derry, and killed 17 people (one of whom died ten days after the incident).

The dead included 11 British soldiers and 6 civilians. Approximately 30 people were also injured in the blast some of them seriously. The soldiers, mainly members of the Cheshire Regiment, regularly socialised in the pub which was close to the British Army base in Ballykelly.

[Tomás Ó Fiaich, then Catholic Primate of Ireland, called the killings “gruesome slaughter”.

Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, said:

“This is one of the most horrifying crimes in Ulster’s tragic history. The slaughter of innocent people is the product of evil and depraved minds, and the act of callous and brutal men.”

Although the bomb was small, believed to be 5lbs or 10lbs of commercial (Frangex) explosives, it had been placed next to a support pillar in the bar and when it exploded the blast brought down the roof. Many of those killed and injured were crushed by fallen masonry. In June 1986 four people recieved life sentences for the attack and a fifth person received a ten year sentence.]

 SeeDroppin Well’ Bomb

Thursday 6 December 1984

Two members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were shot dead by undercover British soldiers in the grounds of Gransha Hospital, Derry.

Friday 6 December 1985

The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) took the decision to withdraw from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Friday 6 December 1996

Another Catholic family was forced to leave the mainly Protestant Ballykeel Estate in Ballymena. This followed earlier expulsions on 4 December 1996. Two Catholic schools were also damaged in sectarian attacks in north Antrim.

Ken Maginness, Security Spokesman of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), claimed that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was responsible for the sectarian tensions in the Ballymena area. Martin Smyth announced that he was retiring as Grand Master of the Orange Order.

Saturday 6 December 1997

The United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP) held its first annual conference in Bangor, County Down. The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) held its annual conference in Dublin. The party rejected by 109 votes to 11 a motion from the Ard Chomhairle (executive) which called on the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) to engage in a ceasefire until the end of the multi-party talks at Stormont.

Monday 6 December 1999

In one of its first decisions the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to increase the salaries of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) by £9,000 to £38,036.

Wednesday 6 December 2000

Gary Moore (30), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead while renovating houses in Devenish Drive, Monkstown, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

[Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for the killing but it is not known which group carried out the shooting.]

Several families were evacuated from their homes in the Ballymoney area when a pipe-bomb was discovered on the windowsill of a house. The occupant of the house was not at home at the time of the incident.

Thursday 6 December 2001

A draft report by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) into the handling of prior warnings about the Omagh Bombing was leaked to the BBC in Northern Ireland.

[The final report was published on Wednesday 12 December 2001. The contents of the leaked report caused serious friction between Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and Nuala O’Loan, then PONI. John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, criticised the leaking of the report and said media speculation was damaging. Ken Maginnis, formerly Ulster Unionist Party spokesman on security, said the Ombudsman had walked through “police interests and community interests like a suicide bomber”. Later Jimmy Spratt, then Chairman of the Police Federation, criticised Nuala O’Loan and called on her to resign. However, David Cook, formerly Chairman of the Northern Ireland Police Authority, said Mr Spratt should be the one to go.]

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), held a media briefing in Belfast at which he called on the British government to establish an International Public Judicial Inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989.

The call followed the collapse of the case against William Stobie on 26 November 2001 and also the continuing alleged links between the British security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries. Colin Powell, then Secretary of State in the USA, designated as ‘terrorist’ three groups based in Northern Ireland by listing them in the Terrorist Exclusion List.

The groups were: the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA), the Orange Volunteers (OV), and the Red Hand Defenders (RHD). This designation has the effect of excluding members or supporters from the USA and will also prevent them from collecting funds in the country.

[However, in the middle of 2001 there was speculation that the RHD (and the OV) was being used as a covername (a pseudonym, or ‘flag of convenience’) by members of the LVF and the UDA / UFF under which these organisations could carry out attacks without taking the blame. If this is true then the RHD (and OV) is a non-existent organisation.]

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Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

25 People lost their lives on the 6th December  between 1971 – 2000

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06 December 1971
Mary Thompson,  (61)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by wall collapsing onto her, shortly after bomb attack on building next door, Salvation Army Citadel, Dublin Road, Belfast.

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06 December 1972
Samuel White,   (32)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Found shot, Lisbon Street, Short Strand, Belfast.

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06 December 1974
James Davidson,   (64)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Died two days after being shot during robbery at his shop, Upper Glenfarne Street, Shankill, Belfast.

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06 December 1975


James Lochrie,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed when land mine exploded prematurely, Kelly’s Road, Killeen, County Armagh

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06 December 1975


Sean Campbell,  (20)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA), K

illed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed when land mine exploded prematurely, Kelly’s Road, Killeen, County Armagh.

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06 December 1982


Stephen Smith,   (24)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Philip McDonough,   (26)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Steven Bagshaw,   (21)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry

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06 December 1982


Clinton Collins,  (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
David Murray,   (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
David Stitt,  (27)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Shaw Williamson,  (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Terence Adams,   (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Neil Williams,  (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry

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06 December 1982
Paul Delaney,  (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


David Salthouse,   (23)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


Ruth Dixon,  (17)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


Carol Watts,   (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Angela Hoole, (19)

nfNI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
English visitor. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry

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06 December 1982
Patricia Cooke,   (21)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Injured by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry. She died 16 December 1982.

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06 December 1982
Valerie McIntyre,   (21)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


Alan Callaghan,   (17)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1984


William Fleming,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members while travelling on motorcycle in the grounds of Gransha Hospital, off Clooney Road, Derry.

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 06 December 1984


Daniel Doherty,   (23)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, while travelling on motorcycle in the grounds of Gransha Hospital, off Clooney Road, Derry.

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06 December 2000


Gary Moore,  (30)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot while renovating houses, Devenish Drive, Monkstown, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

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Droppin Well bombing – INLA Slaughter 6th December 1982

Droppin Well bombing – INLA Slaughter 11 Soldiers & 6 Civilians

The Droppin Well bombing or Ballykelly bombing occurred on 6 December 1982, when the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) exploded a time bomb at a disco in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland. The disco, known as the Droppin Well, was targeted because it was frequented by British Army soldiers from nearby Shackleton Barracks. The bomb killed eleven soldiers and six civilians; 30 people were injured.

 

 

Attack

The bomb was made by INLA members in nearby Derry. One of those involved later revealed that the INLA unit had carried out reconnaissance missions to the Droppin Well to see if there were enough soldiers to justify the possibility of civilian casualties.[1]

On the evening of Monday 6 December 1982, an INLA operative left a bomb inside the pub. There were about 150 people inside.[2] The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) believed that the bomb, estimated to be 5 to 10 pounds (2.3 to 4.5 kg) of commercial (Frangex) explosives, was small enough to fit into a handbag. It had, however, been left beside a support pillar and, when it exploded at about 23:15,[2] the blast brought down the roof. Many of those killed and injured were crushed by fallen masonry.[3]

 

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Dropping well Bomb INLA.

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Following the blast, it took many hours to pull survivors from the rubble. The last survivor was freed at 04:00, but it was not until 10:30 that the last of the bodies was recovered.[2] Ultimately, 17 people died (11 soldiers, six civilians) and about 30 were injured, some seriously.[3] Five of the civilians were young women and three (Alan Callaghan, Valerie McIntyre and Angela Maria Hoole) were teenagers.[2] Of the eleven soldiers who died, eight were from the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment, two from the Army Catering Corps[4] and one from the Light Infantry. One of those on the scene was Bob Stewart, then a company commander in the Cheshire Regiment. He lost six soldiers from his company and was deeply affected as he tended to the dead and injured.[5]

The Victims

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06 December 1982


Stephen Smith,   (24)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Philip McDonough,   (26)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Steven Bagshaw,   (21)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry

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06 December 1982


Clinton Collins,  (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
David Murray,   (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
David Stitt,  (27)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Shaw Williamson,  (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Terence Adams,   (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Neil Williams,  (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry

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06 December 1982
Paul Delaney,  (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


David Salthouse,   (23)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


Ruth Dixon,  (17)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


Carol Watts,   (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Angela Hoole, (19)

nfNI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
English visitor. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry

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06 December 1982
Patricia Cooke,   (21)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Injured by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry. She died 16 December 1982.

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06 December 1982
Valerie McIntyre,   (21)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


Alan Callaghan,   (17)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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Aftermath

Suspicion immediately fell upon the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), who denied involvement. By 8 December, the British Army was blaming the INLA on grounds that the IRA, in a mixed village, would have made greater efforts not to risk killing civilians.[6]

Shortly afterwards, the INLA issued a statement of responsibility:

We believe that it is only attacks of such a nature that bring it home to people in Britain and the British establishment. The shooting of an individual soldier, for the people of Britain, has very little effect in terms of the media or in terms of the British administration.[2]

The INLA also described the civilian women killed as “consorts“.[1] The attack was criticised by many on both sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland due to the high loss of civilian lives. Soon after the INLA had issued its statement, the government of the Republic of Ireland banned the INLA, making membership punishable by seven years imprisonment.[2]

In an interview after the bombing, INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey said that the Droppin Well’s owner had been warned six times to stop offering “entertainment” to British soldiers. McGlinchey added that the owner, and those who socialised with the soldiers, “knew full well that the warnings had been given and that the place was going to be bombed at some stage”.[7] It later emerged that the INLA may also have targeted Ballykelly because it believed that the military base was part of NATO‘s radar and communications network.[1]

Six days after the bombing, RUC officers shot dead INLA members Seamus Grew and Roddie Carroll near a vehicle checkpoint in Armagh. The officers said they believed that the two men were ferrying McGlinchey into Northern Ireland. Neither was armed, nor was McGlinchey in their car.[8]

Convictions

Bomber Anna Moore & Daughter

 

 

In June 1986, four INLA members (Anna Moore, Eamon Moore, Helena Semple and Patrick Shotter)[9] received life sentences for the attack. Anna Moore would later marry loyalist Bobby Corry, whilst both were in prison.[10] Another woman was given ten years for manslaughter as the court believed she had been coerced into involvement. All of those convicted were from Derry.[2][1]

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Old News

Village marks INLA atrocity

It was one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles

A remembrance service has been held on Sunday to honour 17 people killed in an INLA bomb.This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the Droppin’ Well bomb in Ballykelly, County Londonderry.

It was one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles.

John Cooke:

John Cooke: “We loved spoiling her and she loved us”

Eleven soldiers from a nearby Army base and six civilians died in the explosion, which was claimed by the Irish National Liberation Army.

Sunday’s remembrance service was held at Shackleton barracks in Ballykelly.

On 6 December 1982, the bomb ripped through the Droppin’ Well pub where 150 people were enjoying a night out.

‘Errand’

Most of the victims were crushed under the heavy masonry of the pubs concrete ceiling.

Patricia Cooke, 21, suffered terrible injuries and died in hospital 10 days later.

Her brother – who still owns the pub – left to go on an errand just three minutes before the blast.

She was 25 when she was killed, she was killed instantly

Sharon McClarey
Victim’s sister

“She was the baby in the family,” said John Cooke.

“She was spoilt. We loved spoiling her and she loved us.

“One of the comments at the post mortem, the doctor who did it didn’t understand how she lived so long because of the injuries.

“I’m sure part of that was the way she loved us and we loved her. She was trying to hold in there and we wanted her to hold in. It was a sad loss.”

‘Two graves’

Sharon McClarey said every anniversary is very emotional. She lost her sister Carol in the bomb.

Sharon believes the attack eventually cost another sister – Nicola – her life too.

“Carol was married with two children aged six and two,” she said.

“She was 25 when she was killed, she was killed instantly. My other sister Nicola was 19 at the time.

Sharon McClarey:

Sharon McClarey: “Every anniversary is very emotional”

“She was very badly injured. The hospital staff told us to get two graves dug because we had lost both of them.

“But she fought. She never enjoyed good health, she suffered badly and was mentally tortured.

“We will never know what Nicola went through or what she experienced. You could nearly say the bomb ended her life.”