17th February, 1978 – La Mon hotel bombed by Provisional IRA

It will soon be the 35th Anniversary of the La Mon bomb outrage, one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in the IRA campaign of terror in Northern Ireland.

Some of our readers live overseas and may not know anything about this terrible incident, so for their information, here follows a description of the events of that night, and this info is all available on the Internet.

In 1978, the La Mon was a hotel/restaurant near Belfast. On the night of 17th February, 1978, there were 450 people in the hotel/restaurant, including hotel guests and staff.
The Irish Collie Club and the NI Junior Motorcycle Club were holding their annual dinner dances in the Peacock and Gransha Rooms respectively.

The Provisional IRA (Provos,) planted an incendiary bomb, attached to petrol-filled canisters on meat hooks, outside the window of the Peacock Room.
This type of device had already been used by the IRA in more than 100 attacks on commercial buildings before the La Mon attack, according to a published account by a retired RUC (Police) Detective Superintendent.

The bombers tried to send a warning about the bomb but, according to them, the telephone box had been vandalised. Then they state that they were stopped at a checkpoint by an Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR,) a regiment within the British Army.

By the time a bomb warning was received by Police, it was too late! The bomb exploded at 9pm!

The explosion created a fireball  40 feet high and 60 feet wide. Twelve people were killed (seven of them women) and 30 were injured, many critically. It took almost two hours for firemen to put out the blaze.

Eleven Protestant civilians and one Police Officer died that night. Most of the dead and injured were members of the Irish Collie Club and the NI Junior Motorcycle Club.

During the Police hunt for the bombers, a poster was circulated by the Police to shock people into coming forward with information. The poster was heartbreaking and terrifying because it showed the charred remains of one of the victims and it contained these words,

“This is what the bombers did to a human being.”

Two prosecutions followed the Police investigation. One Belfast man was charged with twelve murders but was acquitted. He was convicted of IRA membership but successfully appealed.
In September, 1981, another Belfast man was given twelve life sentences for the manslaughter of those who died. He was freed on licence in 1995 and died in 2006.

The families of the victims want a full Public Inquiry into the bombing as they are not satisfied with the report of the H.E.T (Historical Enquiries Team,) as it did not tell them anything they did not already know.

We will conclude this post with the names and ages of the victims, and we trust that soon, all those responsible for this wicked bombing atrocity will finally be brought to justice.

The Victims

Sarah Cooper (52)

Gordon Crothers (30)

Joan Crothers (26)

Christine Lockhart (33)

Daniel Magill (37)

Ian McCracken (25)

Elizabeth McCracken (25)

Carol Mills (26)

Sandra Morris (27)

Thomas Neeson (52)

Paul Nelson (37)

Dorothy Nelson (34)





3 thoughts on “17th February, 1978 – La Mon hotel bombed by Provisional IRA

  1. Your posting reminded me of a poster I put in the window of th charity shop I used to manage, during Easter week 2009, which read as follows:

    “The Good Friday Agreement”

    Luke 23:4-12 (The Message)

    4 Pilate told the high priests and the accompanying crowd, “I find nothing wrong here. He seems harmless enough to me.”

    5 But they were vehement. “He’s stirring up unrest among the people with his teaching, disturbing the peace everywhere, starting in Galilee and now all through Judea. He’s a dangerous man, endangering the peace.”

    6-7 When Pilate heard that, he asked, “So, he’s a Galilean?” Realizing that he properly came under Herod’s jurisdiction, he passed the buck to Herod, who just happened to be in Jerusalem for a few days.

    8-10 Herod was delighted when Jesus showed up. He had wanted for a long time to see him, he’d heard so much about him. He hoped to see him do something spectacular. He peppered him with questions. Jesus didn’t answer—not one word. But the high priests and religion scholars were right there, saying their piece, strident and shrill in their accusations.

    11-12 Mightily offended, Herod turned on Jesus. His soldiers joined in, taunting and jeering. Then they dressed him up in an elaborate king costume and sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became thick as thieves. Always before they had kept their distance.

    G20: a new world order?
    Gordon Brown declares a “new world order” after the G20 …
    [Financial Times, Wed 7 April 2009]

    The New World Order?
    “They make a desert, and they call it peace.”
    [Publius Cornelius Tacitus]

    • Mr.Allman,

      Thank you for your comment. We think we understand what you are saying but we are not entirely sure that we do. You quoted from “The Message,” and we have to say we do not consider it to be a faithful translation of the Bible. In fact, we do not consider it Scripture at all.

      • Mr & Mrs White

        To say something more Irish-sounding than an Englishman like me normally would, what I was saying was a bit more than I actually said.

        I introduced the reader to a tiny detail of the story of the first “Good Friday”, which probably fell on a Thursday, actually. Two politicians, neither to be admired, who had been enemies, became friends, in the original “Good Friday agreement”.

        The Message (which is hardly “scripture”, I agree, but which is not corrupting pulp fiction either, and good enough for my present purposes) paraphrased the original Greek scripture, “That day Herod and Pilate became thick as thieves. Always before they had kept their distance.” A more direct translation is probably in the Authorised Version: “And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.” (Different words, same meaning.)

        I then linked that idea of an unholy alliance between Herod the Tetrarch and Pontius Pilate, to the striving of modern politicians for a new world order, i.e. global governance, a striving which has been going on since the original global governance of Babel was disrupted, I dare say.

        And I linked that idea – the New World Order – to a less-than-rosy opinion of a fictional Gallic character speaking in a Latin poem by an ancient Roman dissident, of one of the episodes in that global governance game, the pax Romana – or one of several paces Romanae in history, the Treaty of Rome (or EU) and the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire being more recent paces Romanae.

        Pax Romana is one of those “beasts” that keeps coming back to life after being mortally wounded, it would seem.

        Why your writing about an IRA bombing made me think of any of this, I daren’t say.

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