Thursday 25 June 2020


The Provisional IRA were transporting a bomb towards Omagh when it exploded prematurely.  The bomb was being taken towards its target by three IRA men in a stolen car.  When it exploded on the B48 Gortin Road all three were killed instantly.

The explosion was heard over a wide area, including the Lisanelly army barracks in Omagh.  It is thought that the base was the intended target, but this was never confirmed.  The base was attacked several times over the course of the Troubles, but the IRA failed to inflict significant damage or casualties there.  In 1990 they forced a civilian to drive a car bomb to Lisanelly while they held his family at gunpoint.  The 1,500lb device failed to explode due to a faulty detonator.

Following their failed 1973 attack the IRA released a statement in which they said the three 'volunteers' had died on 'active service'.  Two of the terrorists were from Dungannon, to the south-east of Omagh.  Sean Loughran, 37, and Patrick Carty, 26, are still commemorated by republicans to this day, along with the third bomber Dermot Crowley, 18, from Cork in the Irish Republic.  They are known as the 'Three Volunteers' in republican circles.  Loughran had previously lived in England where he married and raised two children before returning to Northern Ireland to join the IRA.  Carty was a wanted man at the time of his death, sought in connection with the murder of a British soldier six weeks earlier.

The three dead terrorists commemorated near Dungannon in 2018