January 20, 1973: Warning fails to stop fatal bombing in Dublin

On January 20, 1973 a UVF bomb went off in Dublin, Ireland killing a bus conductor and wounding 14 others.

DUBLIN, IRELAND – What is the point of calling in a bomb threat if you don’t give enough info to stop it?

I’ve always wondered why a terrorist group goes to all the trouble to warn of an attack. Isn’t this strategy kinda counterproductive? I mean, terrorists want to kill and maim, don’t they? Wouldn’t a phone call saying a bomb is to go off at a certain time undermine that desire?

Maybe this is all a show, a type of ‘we can do whatever we want whenever we want and you cannot do a damn thing about it!’ Maybe it is all about slowly bleeding the state since responding to these warnings, some of which may be fake, is a drain on resources and morale. If so, it has an effect after all in support of the terrorists’ intentions.

Yeah, I’ll have a medium pepperoni pizza and oh by the way there’s a bomb under the counter (Photo: Photo by Devin Kaselnak on Unsplash)

The IRA in Ireland was famous for this tactic. But they were not the only ones and this tactic did end up lethal when things went badly.

On this day in 1973

A male caller with an English accent, likely tied to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), rang a telephone exchange and warned that a bomb was about to explode. Unfortunately the details on the location were not specific and a bomb did go off outside a pub, killing a 21-year-old bus conductor, Thomas Douglas, and wounding 14 others. The streets were busy at the time in light of an IrelandNew Zealand rugby match.

Listen love, there is a bomb in O’Connell Street at the Bridge.

Warning placed at the telephone exchange

The Troubles were bad enough for Ireland without throwing in useless advanced warnings. The deceased was from Stirling, Scotland and had only been in Dublin for four months when he was killed by the shrapnel. To what end?

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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