12 April 2006


Daily Ireland

Former IRA man says gardaí didn’t act on his tip-off that loyalists were on a ‘dry-run’ for attack on Dublin Airport

by Ciarán Barnes

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Gardaí were warned loyalists were planning to bomb Dublin airport almost two months before an explosion ripped through the terminal building killing one and injuring nine.
Father of three John Hayes died in the blast on November 29, 1975, which was claimed by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).
Daily Ireland has learned that at the end of September 1975 gardaí arrested two teenage Co Down loyalists in a stolen car at the airport.
They claimed to be joyriders from Belfast and were taken to Bridewell Garda station for questioning.
The loyalists, whose names are known to Daily Ireland, were put in a cell next to Belfast republican Pat Livingstone.
At the time, Mr Livingstone was on the run in the Republic and living under the alias Hughie Kennedy.
He was arrested by gardaí for questioning about the murder of Garda Michael Reynolds, who was shot dead during a robbery on September 11, 1975.
Mr Livingstone lived on the same street as two anarchists later convicted of his killing – Noel and Marie Murray.
Special Branch detectives questioning Mr Livingstone told him they had arrested two teenagers at Dublin airport in a stolen car. They explained that one of the men taken into custody was the son of a prominent north Down unionist.
Gardaí allowed Mr Livingstone to speak with the men in their cell.
After talking to the loyalists, Mr Livingstone warned detectives they were on a scouting mission to bomb Dublin airport.
A total of 29 civilians had been killed in the capital by loyalist bombs during the previous three years. However, gardaí dismissed Mr Livingstone’s warning.
The loyalists were held for a number of days before being convicted of minor motoring offences. They both received one-month suspended sentences before being escorted to the border. One of the men, the son of the prominent unionist, went on to serve more than ten years on the loyalist wing of Long Kesh prison.
After the airport bombing, Mr Livingstone met the detectives who introduced him to the loyalists on a street in Dublin city centre. He said they remarked to him how he “had been right all along” about why the loyalists were in Dublin.
“I am positive those guys were on a scouting mission,” Mr Livingstone told Daily Ireland.
“They were sussing the place out before the bomb was planted. Lives could have been saved if the Garda had acted.”
The Justice for the Forgotten group, which campaigns on behalf of those killed and injured in the Dublin bombings, have called for a full-scale investigation into Mr Livingstone’s claims.
Spokeswoman Margaret Urwin said: “There needs to be an in-depth investigation into the cross-border attacks that occurred in the South in the early to mid-1970s.
“Around 130 people living in the South lost their lives during the Troubles. Half of those deaths occurred between 1969 and 1976.
“In many ways, the Dublin airport attack has become just a statistic. Unfortunately no one really remembers it, other than those injured and the family of the poor man killed.”
A report into the Dublin airport bombing, and similar loyalist attacks in Armagh, Dundalk and Monaghan will be published later this year by the Irish government.
The author of the report, Judge Henry Barron, is probing claims gardaí did not conduct a proper investigation into loyalist attacks.
Last year Judge Barron criticised gardaí for not properly investigating the 1976 loyalist murder of Dundalk forestry worker Seamus Ludlow.

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