Remembering victims of the La Mon massacre 40 years on

The aftermath of the La Mon bombing showing the extent of the damage to the hotel after an IRA bomb exploded at the venue, killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others. Archive pic by Pacemaker Belfast
The aftermath of the La Mon bombing showing the extent of the damage to the hotel after an IRA bomb exploded at the venue, killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others. Archive pic by Pacemaker Belfast
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The victims of one of the worst atrocities of The Troubles - the La Mon House Hotel bombing - will be remembered at a special event in Lisburn next month.

On February 17, 1978, an IRA incendiary bomb attack at the hotel in the Castlereagh Hills claimed the lives of 12 people and left dozens of others seriously injured.

The venue was packed with revellers at a dinner dance organised by the Irish Collie Club when a huge fireball ripped through the building.

West Belfast man Robert Murphy was given 12 life sentences for his part in the La Mon bombing after admitting to manslaughter charges. He was freed on licence in 1995 and passed away in 2006.

A second Belfast man, Edward Manning Brophy, was charged with the 12 murders but was acquitted.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the atrocity, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is planning to hold a commemorative service at Lagan Valley Island in Lisburn next month to remember those who lost their lives and the many other victims of the bombing.

The local authority is currently working with representatives of those affected by the bombing in order to organise proceedings and invitations for the forthcoming service. And it is appealing to any victims who are not already involved with, or aware of, its plans to get in touch with the council directly.

The Chairman of the council’s Corporate Services Committee, Councillor Scott Carson, sits on the Working Group which is organising the event to mark the 40th anniversary of the massacre.

“For the victims and their families, the horror and tragedy of the bombing will never go away, and as a council we want to ensure that they continue to be remembered,” he said.

“We also know that it is a very personal decision for people as to whether they would want to attend this commemorative service, but what we want most is to make the occasion meaningful and memorable and to involve people who were affected all those years ago in a sensitive way.

“We are appealing to any victim or family member affected by this attack 40 years ago and who wishes to be involved in the commemoration to contact us.”

Anyone who would like to get in touch with the council to discuss the commemorative service should call Carmel Connolly (Head of Central Support Services) on 028 9250 9265 or email carmel.connolly@lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk