Wednesday 5 February 2020


The Provisional IRA attempted to plant a booby-trap bomb underneath a van belonging to an RUC reservist.  The terrorist was attaching the device shortly after 23:00 hrs in the village of Drumquin, Co Tyrone.  The bomb exploded prematurely leaving him with severe injuries.  He lost both arms and an eye, his injuries so severe that his father struggled to identify him as he lay dying in hospital.  He was pronounced dead in Tyrone County Hospital the following day.

The bomber was Glasgow-born James Joseph Connolly, from Castlederg, 8 miles to the north of Drumquin.  The 20-year-old builder worked for the same construction firm as his target, a part-time RUC man who was reportedly a plumber.  He was treated for shock at the scene of the bombing.  A pistol found nearby was later shown to have been used in two IRA murders the previous year, that of an RUC reservist and a UDR reservist.

The IRA confirmed Connolly was a member of its West Tyrone Brigade and his funeral in Castlederg was attended by both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.  In paying tribute to the dead terrorist Adams bizarrely blamed the British state for his death saying it was a "terrible indictment".

In 2014 Sinn Fein held an event in Castlederg to mark the 25th anniversary of Connolly's death, but drew sharp criticism from his family.  The family wanted to hold a non-political memorial and had repeatedly requested that the republican event be cancelled, but said Sinn Fein did not even respond and proceeded anyway.  Sinn Fein were also accused of adding Connolly's name to a republican monument without consulting the family.

IRA bomber James Connolly