Crumlin Road Prison bombing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Crumlin Road Prison bombing
Part of the Troubles
Crumlin Road Gaol interior
Crumlin Road Prison bombing is located in Northern Ireland
Crumlin Road Prison bombing
LocationHM Prison Crumlin Road, Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Coordinates54°35′07.8″N 5°55′22.7″W / 54.585500°N 5.922972°W / 54.585500; -5.922972Coordinates: 54°35′07.8″N 5°55′22.7″W / 54.585500°N 5.922972°W / 54.585500; -5.922972
Date14 November 1991 (GMT)
TargetUlster Loyalist prisoners
Attack type
Time bomb
Deaths2 Loyalist paramilitaries (1 UVF and 1 UDA)
8 Loyalist prisoners
PerpetratorProvisional IRA
Provisional IRA Belfast Brigade

On the 24 November 1991 the Provisional IRA (IRA) exploded a home made bomb along the Crumlin Road inside of the Crumlin Road Prison in the Ulster Loyalist wing of the prison killing two Loyalist prisoners, one from the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) and one from the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).[1] This came at the height of a debate on the issues of desegregation between Loyalist and Irish Republican prisoners.[2]


Provisional IRA prisoners snuck in semtex and explosive materials into the prison and assembled the bomb carefully inside. The bomb was planted in 'C Wing' the Loyalists dining room area, and hidden behind a radiator. The bomb exploded while the Loyalist prisoners were eating dinner. UDA member Robert Skey (27) and UVF member Colin Caldwell (23) were both killed by the blast, Skeys instantly, while Caldwell died of his wounds four days later on 28 November. Eight other people were injured.[3]

At the time Loyalist paramilitary groups like the UVF and the UDA had been stepping up their sectarian campaign against the Irish Nationalist community in Northern Ireland, carrying out a high number of civilian killings against the community as well as targeting Sinn Fein and IRA members. Most of these killings happened around the County Armagh and County Tyrone border with the majority taking place in Belfast.[4][5] Republican paramilitaries such as the IRA, Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and Irish People's Liberation Organization (IPLO) hit back at the Loyalist community, killing both Loyalist paramilitaries and civilians in both targeted and random attacks.[6][7] These and other killings led a deadly circle of tit-for-tat sectarian killings, on the 21 December 1991 the IPLO shot dead two Protestant civilians and injured five others in a Belfast bar in what became known as the Donegall Arms shooting,[8] on the same day an INLA gunman shot dead a Protestant civilian in County Tyrone, and the UFF shot dead a Catholic civilian in Belfast.[9] In December 1992 the UFF launched a rocket attack at Crumlin Rd Prison at what the UFF believed was a Republican part of the prison. It's believed this was in retaliation for the November 1991 bombing.[10] Nobody was injured as a result.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1991". Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  2. ^ Kinsella, Mcky. "The Campaigns for Segregation in Crumlin Road Gaol, 1990-1994". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Reuters (25 November 1991). "Bomb Goes Off in Ulster Jail, Killing Inmate, Wounding 8". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  4. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1991". Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  5. ^ Sean McPhilemey - The Committee: Political Assassinations in Northern Ireland p.382 - 387
  6. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1991". Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  7. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1991". Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Gunmen open fire in Irish bar". UPI. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  9. ^ "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths". Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  10. ^ HM Prison Crumlin Road
  11. ^ "Protestant terrorists hit top security jail in missile attack". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 12 April 2019.