Families welcome Belturbet bomb review

Gardaí to follow lines of inquiry with new review.

The families of Geraldine O'Reilly (15) and Paddy Stanley (16), killed in the Belturbet bombing almost 50 years ago, “whole-heartedly” welcome the decision by An Garda Síochána to initiate a new investigation into the incident.

The two teenagers lost their lives in the “no-warning loyalist bomb attack” says victim support organisation, Justice for the Forgotten. “We have supported the two families for almost 20 years and, at last, we have this very significant and positive development in the case.”

This morning, Gardaí formally issued an appeal for new information in relation to the attack which occurred on December 28, 1972.

At 10:28pm a car bomb exploded outside Farrelly’s Bar and McGowan’s Drapery on Main Street, Belturbet.

Patrick Stanley was from Clara, Co. Offaly. Survived by his parents, Teresa (RIP) and Joe (RIP) and nine siblings, he was a keen hurler, Gaelic footballer and soccer player. Patrick had recently won an All-Star award for Gaelic football with his school, Árd Scoil Ciarán.

He had applied for a cadetship in the Army and, at the time of his murder, was temporarily employed by local businessman, Pat Jennings as a helper on a Calor Gas delivery lorry.

On December 28, 1972, there had been a problem with the lorry. Patrick and the driver had decided to stay in Belturbet overnight. When the bomb exploded, Patrick Stanley was in the public phone kiosk on the Main Street, trying to telephone his parents to tell them he would not be home.

Geraldine O’Reilly was from Drumacon, Staghall, Belturbet. She is survived by her parents, Mary Kate (RIP) and Joseph (RIP) and seven siblings.

Geraldine was the youngest of her family and had completed her Group Certificate examination the previous June, earning six honours. She intended taking up a career in nursing.

She had come into town with her brother Anthony to get food from a local restaurant. She was in the Slowey’s chip shop when the bomb car, which was parked directly opposite, exploded.

“Following a review of the investigation, An Garda Síochána has identified a number of lines of inquiry,” said a garda spokesperson.

A Senior Investigating Officer has been appointed to lead the investigation and an incident room has been established at Ballyconnell Garda Station.

Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information in relation to the Belturbet Bombing on 28th December, 1972 to contact the incident room at Ballyconnell Garda Station 049 9525580, the Garda confidential line Free-phone 1800 666 111 or Crimestoppers 1800 250025.