Twenty-nine more lives lost during May 1974

Maeve Connolly, Irish News

The Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974, which claimed 33 lives, occurred in the middle of a month in which a further 29 people died or were murdered in incidents related to the Troubles.

Running concurrently was the Ulster Workers Strike which had the support of loyalist paramilitaries from its beginnings on May 15.

This action effectively paralysed Northern Ireland and brought down the power-sharing executive formed through the Sunningdale Agreement.

During the 14-day strike there were reductions in electricity and petrol supplies, the stoppage of postal services and roads were barricaded.

Rural communities suffered greatly with many farmers forced to dispose of milk and other products that had perished.

In the middle of it all, the 'Ulster Army Council' issued a list of services to be allowed through roadblocks and opening times for shops.

The strike was called off on Wednesday May 29 and by the end of the month 62 people had lost their lives in Ireland.

The month opened with the May 2 UVF cannister bomb attack on a Belfast bar in which six Catholic men were killed.

Thomas Morrissey (46), James Doherty (53), Thomas Ferguson (48), John Gallagher (23) and William Kelly (56) all died in the blast, while Francis Brennan (56) died nine days later.

The UDR lost its first female member on the same day. Eva Martin (28) was killed in an IRA attack on a UDR base in Co

An explosion in south Belfast on May 5 resulted in the death of Protestant Albert Green who suffered a heart attack.

Two days later, loyalists killed four people in separate attacks.

Catholic father-of-three Patrick Jago died when he was gunned down by the UFF in a workmen's hut in Newtownabbey.

A 20-year-old IRA man, Frederick Leonard, was also killed in a random loyalist attack at a Carnmoney building site that day.

On the evening of May 7 James and Gertrude Devlin were shot dead close to their Co Tyrone home.

Meanwhile, the UFF was responsible for the death of 40-year-old Francis Rowe at his Co Antrim home.

On May 10 the IRA murdered two Belfast police constables – father-of-two Malcolm Ross (40) and Brian Bell (29), a father-of-one.

Days later two Co Tyrone IRA men were killed when a bomb exploded prematurely.

The Official IRA also lost two members on May 15 when the British army shot dead Colman Rowntree (24) and Martin McAlinden (23) in Co Down.

The following day a 21-year-old Catholic mother-of-two was gunned down in New Lodge, north Belfast.

UVF member Joseph Shaw was shot dead in a Belfast bar on May 18, allegedly following a disagreement over strike opening hours.

The Dublin and Monaghan fatality list increased on May 21 with the death of 72-year-old Archie Harper.

On the same day the body of Catholic Michael Mallon (20) from Co Antrim was found on the outskirts of Belfast.

A father-of-eight and his brother were gunned down on May 24 at their Co Antrim pub.

Sean and Brendan Byrne were killed by a gang whose job it was to monitor the opening hours of establishments during the strike.

Three people lost their lives on May 25.

Belfast Catholic Alfred Stilges was beaten to death by the UDA while Patrick McGirr (39) and Eileen McCrory (20) were killed when the car in which they were travelling crashed into a tree cut down to block the road as part of the UWC strike.

The month closed with the murder of Catholic Alfred Shotter in an IRA bomb attack at his Co Tyrone home designed to kill security personnel.

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