Dublin Bombing Of 20th January 1973


Dublin 20th Jan 1972


20th January 1973

At 3.20 pm on a Saturday afternoon, as Ireland were playing the All-Blacks Rugby team at Lansdowne Road, a car parked in Sackville Place, Dublin exploded, killing 21-year-old Tommy Douglas, a native of Stirling, Scotland. He had been living in Dublin for just four months and working as a bus conductor. His mother was a native of Achill Island, Co. Mayo. This was the second car bombing in Sackville Place within a matter of seven weeks.

A warning was telephoned to the main telephone exchange by a man with an English accent stating that a bomb would explode on O'Connell Bridge ten minutes before the actual explosion but Gardaí believed it was a diversionary tactic.


The Early Criminal Investigations

The car, a Vauxhall Victor, which had been hired, was hijacked from its hirer that morning at Agnes Street, off the Shankill Road in Belfast. The driver was reported to have been held until shortly after 3 pm, about the time the bomb exploded. In almost all the details, the hijacking of the car that exploded in South Leinster Street, Dublin on 17th May 1974, resembled this earlier hijacking. There was a report that the car had been seen passing through Drogheda at about midday. However, many Northern registered cars were travelling south that day on their way to the rugby international.

A woman driving into Sackville Place from O'Connell Street at 1 pm on that day, encountered a red car, thought to have been the Vauxhall Victor, driving against the flow of traffic. Neither car could pass. A man on the pavement told the driver of the red car that it was a one-way street and the driver then reversed. It was claimed that the car contained at least one passenger, possibly two, as well as the driver.

On 25 January, it was reported that descriptions were being 'built up' of a man and woman seen in the car and that an identikit picture would issue shortly. However, as also happened after the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, no identikit picture was ever published in the newspapers.

For further details of progress on this bombing see 1st DEC 1972