Clones Man, Paddy McCabe, recognised in Dáil as victim of 1972 bombing for first time
Carthy raises cases of Clones, Belturbet & Pettigo explosions 50 years on
For the first time a local man, Paddy McCabe, was recognised as a victim of the Clones bombing of 28th December 1972 when Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, secured a topical issues debate to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Clones, Belturbet & Pettigo bombings.
This week Gardaí released the most comprehensive information on the bombings to date, including reference to nine suspects they are trying to locate, in a further appeal for public assistance. Gardaí also refenced Pady McCabe alongside teenagers Geraldine O’Reilly and Patrick Stanley who were both killed in Belturbet.
In his Dáil contribution Deputy Carthy said:
“The 50th anniversary of the bombings at Belturbet in County Cavan, Clones in County Monaghan and Pettigo in County Donegal will be marked on 28 December.
“The three bombs exploded within 49 minutes of each other. It is widely believed that the UVF in conjunction with British state agents were responsible for the attack. Nobody has ever been held to account.
“For many years, the response of this State to the bombings was silence. But, thanks to the efforts of families, local communities and the organisation Justice for the Forgotten, a focus of sorts has been put on these incidents. In October 2022, An Garda Síochána issued a renewed appeal for information, which I welcome.
“There were two victims of the Belturbet bombing – 16-year-old Patrick Stanley from Clara in County Offaly, survived by his parents Teresa and Joe, now deceased, and nine siblings; and 15-year-old Geraldine O’Reilly from Drumacon, Staghall, Belturbet. She left her parents Mary Kate and Joseph, also both sadly deceased, and seven siblings bereaved.
“The official record states that there were no fatalities from the bombings at Pettigo and Fermanagh Street in Clones but that does not tell the full story.
“A local Clones man, Paddy McCabe, was one of those who came to assist in the clear-up operation after the explosion. He was working on the roof of the building that was damaged by the bomb when he had a fall that resulted in his death.
“The Clones bombing was directly related to his death, although he has never been recognised as a victim of the bombing. But, the impact on his family was as profound as that on any victims of the conflict.
“Paddy left behind his beloved wife Vera to be the sole carer of their eight children, then aged from two to 14 years. They lost their husband and father and their lives would never be the same again. It was a direct result of the Clones bombing but because he was never recognised as such, Paddy’s family was denied supports and resources that might otherwise have been made available.
“I recently had the opportunity, alongside Councillor Pat Traynor and the Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council, Seán Conlon, to meet some of Paddy McCabe’s now grown-up children.
“They had two requests. The first was that they be informed of all developments in the Garda investigation into the bombings at Clones, Belturbet and Pettigo and that they be considered interested parties for updates on the case. I am pleased that following my correspondence with An Garda Síochána, I am informed a Garda has been assigned as a liaison for the family.
“Second, they sought long-denied recognition that the loss of their father was a consequence of the Clones bombing. This is why I welcome the opportunity to record the name of Paddy McCabe in the record of the Dáil tonight as a victim of the Clones bombing. I ask the Minister to join me in extending condolences to the family of Paddy McCabe alongside the families of Patrick Stanley and Geraldine O’Reilly as we approach the 50th anniversary of their deaths”.