Members of the Garda Water Unit are at the scene.

Gardaí confirm search operation in Belturbet Bomb investigation

COLD CASE Divers search the Woodford River

Gardaí have confirmed that a major search operation involving divers close to Aghalane Bridge is being conducted as pard of a cold case review into the Belturbet Bomb over 50 years ago.

A spokesperson from the force told the Celt this afternoon: "Gardaí commenced a joint search operation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland at the Woodford River at the Old Aghalane Bridge on the border between Co Cavan and Co Fermanagh.

"The joint operation being carried out by the Garda Water Unit and PSNI divers are searching the Woodford River in the vicinity of the old Aghalane Bridge for evidence in relation to the Belturbet bombing."

Two teenagers local girl Geraldine O'Reilly (15) and Patrick Stanley (16) from Clara, Co Offaly, lost their lives in the blast on December 28, 1972.

Late last year, An Garda Síochána set up an incident room at Ballyconnell Garda Station, from which members assigned to the case, are conducting a full examination of all evidence, old and new.

Gardaí have renewed their appeal for information and in particular ask members of the public for their assistance -

1.To identify the person depicted in a photofit of the driver of the stolen car as compiled by the Garda at the checkpoint at Aghalane Bridge.

2.To identify the person depicted in a photofit of the person who was the driver of a car stolen from Main Street Belturbet as compiled by a civilian witness.

3.To identify the driver and occupants of the car stolen from Main Street Belturbet as per description provided by a witness

a.Man 18 years old 5’8” thin build, long thin pale face, long dark brown hair (curly), curls all over head, hair well groomed and coming almost to chin, staring type eyes, very conspicuous nose, very pale complexion, delicate looking, wearing a dark blazer with shinny buttons, double breasted with wide lapels, maybe silver buttons plain design, collar and tie, light coloured shirt and and dark tie, neatly dressed, appeared to be a clerical worker, wore a silver or steel band around his wrist – maybe a watch.

b.Description of girl in rear of car – 18 to 19 years old, fairly tall, blonde hair coming down over shoulders, parted in the centre and pushed away from forehead, sharp featured, pale complexion, very light eyebrows, long dark overcoat (maybe red), polo neck pullover.

c.Description of the men who got into the same car - Both dark haired, hair not as long as the driver’s hair, both about 20 years, (appeared taller than (1) above dark conservative clothes, well groomed, Northern accents, thought to be Belfast, both taller than driver. All appeared to be well dressed as if they were going to a dance or some function

4.To identify the individuals who were in Belturbet on 28th December 1972, one of whom was wearing a distinctive ‘DUNLOP’ jacket

a.25 to 28 years, 5’11” to 6’0” approx., dark brown or black bushy hair, not too long, combed across forehead in a short fringe, sidelocks, broad/round face, fresh smooth complexion, very well built, wore black leather or plastic ‘wet look’ jacket with zip fastener, high collar turned up at back, side pockets, the word ‘DUNLOP’ in white ¾” lettering on breast or sleeve of jacket, large grey or white squares on trousers, spoke with northern accent

b.23 to 25 years, 5’7” or 5’9”, straight dark coloured hair, medium length and well groomed, long oval shaped face, pointed chin, light build, wearing expensive looking black jacket with zip, also described as having buttons, side pockets, bell bottom trousers, collar and tie. He wore a watch with gold bracelet.

c.Somewhat similar in description to No 2 and witnesses were of the opinion that No’s 2 and 3 could have been related.

5.For information in relation to the whereabouts of the registration plates from the lagoon blue Ford Cortina registration umber BIA 477 which was stolen from Belturbet on 28th December 1972, which have never been recovered.

6.To identify the man who was observed driving a stolen Morris 1100 in Northern Ireland on 28th December 1972 who is described as missing fingers.

7.Any additional information which may assist Gardaí in their investigation

Anyone with information in relation to the Belturbet, Clones or Pettigo bombings, or indeed any other bombing, can contact the Incident Room at Ballyconnell Garda Station 049 9525580, the Garda confidential line Free-phone 1800 666111, Crimestoppers 1800 250025 or Crimestoppers Northern Ireland 0800 555 111.

Geraldine O'Reilly.

Patrick Stanley (16) also died that night. A gas delivery assistant, he was in a phone box nearby having stopped off to call his family and let them know he'd be late home.

Patrick Stanley.


“A night like no other...”