Wednesday 19 August 2020


The Provisional IRA shot dead an elderly garage owner in south Belfast.  Four masked terrorists arrived at Creightons petrol station in Finaghy with two bombs.  Initially they attempted to rob the owner, 77-year-old William Creighton.  Mr Creighton resisted and became involved in a struggle during which he was shot.  Two customers who arrived at the pumps were then held at gunpoint until the bombs had been planted.  After the terrorists fled the customers pulled the wounded Mr Creighton to safety before alerting the police.

Around ten minutes later the bombs exploded.  The area was being cleared by security forces at the time and a police officer and four military police were injured by flying glass.  Windows in nearby houses were shattered and the resulting fire largely destroyed the garage.  It took firemen over an hour to extinguish the flames.

Mr Creighton had been looking after the garage while his son was on holiday and died on his way to hospital.  Locals were furious.  It was the second time the Protestant business had been bombed by the IRA.  Creightons was one of the targets during Bloody Friday in 1972, when the IRA exploded more than 20 bombs across Belfast.  No-one was killed at Creightons that day, although nine people were killed elsewhere.

Two men were later charged with Mr Creighton's murder, having been arrested during a siege nearby.  Creightons of Finaghy was attacked again in April 2019, when an incendiary device exploded causing damage to six vehicles.  The 'New IRA' claimed the attack and also threatened to kill company directors of 11 businesses it accused of working with the police (including Creightons).

Creightons of Finaghy as it appears today