‘It’s all going to start down here’

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Features, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2012), Troubles in Northern Ireland, Volume 20

By the end of 1972 there had been several bomb attacks in Dublin and the border counties. Scares and false alarms were regular occurrences, causing much disruption and fraying nerves. Just before Christmas two teenagers were killed by a car bomb in Cavan town. Over the New Year a man and a woman were murdered by Loyalists in Donegal. In January 1973 another Dublin bus worker, Thomas Douglas, died in a car-bomb blast, again near Liberty Hall. The attacks contributed to a growing fear that the ‘Troubles’ were coming south. Indeed, British diplomats speculated that the bombs had shocked public opinion to the extent that a decline in support for the IRA would be the result.

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