Charlemont pub attacks

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Charlemont pub attacks
Part of the Troubles
Charlemont pub attacks is located in Northern Ireland
Clancy's Bar
Clancy's Bar
Eagle's Bar
Eagle's Bar
LocationCharlemont, County Armagh , Northern Ireland
Date15 May 1976
22:50 and 22:52 (GMT)
Attack type
Mass shooting, bombing
PerpetratorsUlster Volunteer Force and members of the British security forces as part of the Glenanne gang

The Charlemont pub attacks were co-ordinated militant Loyalist paramilitary attacks on two pubs in the small village of Charlemont, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, carried out by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) on the 15 May 1976. The attacks have been attributed to the Glenanne gang which was a coalition of right-wing Loyalist paramilitaries and subversive members of the British security forces[disambiguation needed].[1][2][3]


Since late 1975 there had been a number of deadly sectarian attacks carried out by both Irish Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries in County Armagh. On 15 December, 17 year old Catholic civilian Ronald Trainor, a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (believed to be the political wing of the Irish National Liberation Army), was killed by the UVF in Portadown. On the 19 December 1975 the Loyalist Red Hand Commando claimed responsibility for killing three Catholic civilians in a pub in Silverbridge, County Armagh.[4] On the 31 December the Irish National Liberation Army using the covername "Armagh People's Republican Army" killed three Protestant civilians when they bombed a pub near Portadown.[5] At the start of January Loyalists gunmen killed six Catholic civilians in a double attack in County Armagh. The next day a group calling itself the South Armagh Republican Action Force killed 10 Protestant civilian workmen in what became known as the Kingsmill massacre.[6]


Locals claimed that the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) had been patrolling the village for a number of nights beforehand, but were absent the night of the attacks.

On the night of the 15 May 1976 at around 10:50 pm the Eagles Bar in Charlemont in Armagh was sprayed with gunfire from a Sten submachine gun, four people had been hit and injured in the attack. Probably more would have been injured but the owner of the bar placed security shutters on the windows in case of an attack. One of those who was injured was Fred McLoughlin (47) who died two weeks later in hospital from his injuries. Almost instantly after the gunfire had stopped a loud bang was heard, this was the bomb that had gone off at Clancy's bar only a short distance away.[7] The bomb had been placed at the front of the pubs door by the UVF unit and exploded right after the attack on the other pub had ended. The force of the blast brought the ceiling crashing down on the people inside the pub. Three people were killed in this bomb attack including Sean O'Hagan (22), Robert McCullough (41) and the pubs owner Felix "Vincy" Clancy (54) the pubs owner who had only just returned from the Eagle Bar a few minutes earlier. About 15 people had been injured in the attack, some of them seriously.[8][9]


A member of the British Territorial Army Gerald Beattie and British UDR soldier David Kane were convicted of the shooting at the Eagle's Bar, and a RUC reservist Joseph Lutton for the bombing at Clancy's Bar, although Lutton named Beattie and Kane as having also taken part in the bombing at Clancy's they were given no further time on to their sentences or even interviewed about the bombing.[10][11]

Two days after the Charlemont attacks the Republican Action Force claimed responsibility for killing Protestant civilians Robert and Thomas Dobson in Moy, County Tyrone, apparently in retaliation for the 15 May pub attacks.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Former Policeman blows the whistle on murderous Glenanne Gang in new documentary The Irish News, 15 June 2018
  2. ^ "Son speaks out on anniversary of Glenanne gang pub killings". The Irish News. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  3. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1976". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  4. ^ Malcolm Sutton. "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  5. ^ Malcolm Sutton. "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  6. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1976". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  7. ^ Anne Cadwallader - Lethal Allies: British Collusion In Ireland pp.173
  8. ^ Anne Cadwallader - Lethal Allies: British Collusion In Ireland pp.174
  9. ^ "NORTHERN IRELAND (Hansard, 17 May 1976)". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  10. ^ "'The police were there to protect you. Not shoot you' - Benburb family speaks out 40 years after father's murder". Tyrone Times. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  11. ^ Anne Cadwallader - Lethal Allies: British Collusion In Ireland pp.178-179
  12. ^ "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths". Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  13. ^ Anne Cadwallader - Lethal Allies: British Collusion In Ireland pp.14