Wednesday 1 May 2019


The Provisional IRA bombed the Courtaulds factory in Carrickfergus, County Antrim.  One man was killed, 15 injured and serious damage was caused by eight separate devices planted in and around the plant.  The RUC received a telephone warning 27 minutes before the first explosion, but the caller incorrectly stated that there was a single device and that it was located in the canteen.  There were no bombs in the canteen.

David Currie was an electrical engineer and had gone to investigate after hearing the first explosion.  He was killed by the second explosion.  The police claimed that the bombs had been placed in such a way that people fleeing one explosion would flee directly into another.  A Courtaulds spokesman said the bombers "knew just what they were doing" and one of the devices had almost ruptured a gas storage tank.  Had it ignited the spokesman said the entire site would have been destroyed.  Around 300 people were on site at the time.  A rescue worker described a man with his arm blown off, part of his stomach missing and another missing one of his legs.  The blaze started by the explosions took four fire crews an hour and a half to bring under control.

Courtaulds was a textile manufacturer headquartered in Coventry.  The Carrickfergus plant was a multi-million pound investment and was due to go into full production in the summer of 1972, employing around 500 people from the mainly Protestant area.  At the time the attack was described as the "most elaborate act of industrial sabotage since the Ulster troubles began".  The factory closed in 1981 and the site is now a housing estate.

David Currie was 26 and left a wife and two children.  He lived in the village of Lambeg, near Lisburn.

The derelict former Courtaulds factory, it has since been demolished