Irish Republican News · November 5, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Inquest hears of act of heroism

An IRA Volunteer guarding a republican social function at the Widow Scallan’s pub in Dublin was shot dead while trying to fend off a unionist paramilitary bomb attack, an inquest has heard.

Martin ‘Doco’ Doherty, 35, from Ballymun, Dublin died on Pearse Street after he was shot several times in the chest by gunmen on May 21, 1994.

The court heard that a northern-registered car pulled up outside the pub and two men attempted to try to plant a “substantial” bomb in the public house.

The Dublin City Coroner’s Court was told that the two bombers were challenged by Doherty, as a result of which he was shot outside the pub. He managed to shut the door against the attack.

The inquest heard there were more than 150 people on the premises at the time, and if the bomb had exploded it would have had devastating consequences.

The coroner, Dr Brian Farrell, said Mr Doherty had lost his life challenging the gunmen, who were forced to abandon the bomb outside.

One witness, David Coakley, who would have been 14 at the time, told how they heard shots as they stood outside a chip shop near the pub.

He told the court that a right-handed gunman shot a man lying on the ground several times with a handgun before he jumped into a gold coloured car parked outside the pub.

“The wheels spun as they started off and the tyres screeched and they took off up Pearse Street,” he said.

Three witnesses said the gunman stared at them as the three-men drove off and described him as in his 20s or early 30s, about six-foot tall, of light build with short black hair.

Mr Coakley told the court he spotted a black sports bag, about two feet-long planted near the pub.

A statement from a deceased witness, Peter Hanlon, told how the bomb caused panic when it partially exploded.

The car, which was later found burnt out, was seen on its way into Dublin but the superintendent said there was no reason for police to stop it.

“We still have an unsolved murder and the file remains open. To date no-one has been made amenable,” a Garda police detective said. “All aspects were dealt with.”

Dr Farrell said: “By Martin’s brave actions he may have saved the lives of very many people.”

The jury passed a verdict of unlawful killing by person or persons unknown.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News