Bombs explode as peace talks falter
In a statement released to RTE in Dublin on Monday
night 23 February, the IRA said, ``we reiterate that the
complete cessation of military operations which began
at midday on Sunday 20 July last year remains intact''.
The IRA statement was released within hours of a
massive car bomb exploding in the centre of Portadown
and three days after a 500lb bomb detonated late on
Friday night in Moira, a small County Down town. In
Belfast, Gerry Adams told reporters he was sure the IRA
cessation remained in place, ``there is nothing to
suggest to me that the IRA has breached its cessation,''
The Portadown bomb attack occurred at 11.59am when
upwards of 500lbs of explosives packed into a BMW car
detonated in Edward Street, near the town's RUC
barracks. A 40 minute warning had been given and no one
was injured as the bomb ripped through the town's
commercial centre. A number of shops which took the
brunt of the attack were destroyed while others were
severely damaged by the blast and by subsequent fires.
Some of the buildings had only just been refurbished
after an IRA bomb exploded in the North Armagh town in
The bomb which exploded in Moira on Friday night 20
February is estimated to have contained 500lbs of
explosives. The bomb, carried to the scene in a jeep,
was aimed at the town's RUC barracks and ripped through
the building reducing it to ``a mangled wreck''. A 20
minute warning ensured evacuation of the target area.
The explosion, which was heard 15 miles away, injured
seven RUC members and four civilians. None of the
injured were badly hurt.
Meanwhile the death of Lurgan Catholic Kevin Conway has
prompted media speculation as to who abducted and shot
dead the 30 year old father of four on Wednesday 18
February. Local Sinn Fein Councillor John O'Dowd was
under no illusions. In a statement he said, ``I have
made a number of inquiries surrounding the
disappearance of Mr Conway. I am satisfied that
loyalists are responsible for the killing. I am calling
on RUC boss Flanagan to release the full facts
surrounding who killed the Catholic father of four. The
RUC boss is untypically hesitant to apportion blame in
this as opposed to his eagerness in other recent
The RUC has refused to describe the killing as
sectarian. Mr Conway, from Lurgan's Kilwilkie estate,
was found bound hand and foot at Aghalee, a notorious
area where loyalists have been active in recent years.
A young Catholic girl Bernadette Martin and taxi driver
Michael McGoldrick were both killed nearby.