Forensic Science Laboratory bombing

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Forensic Science Laboratory bombing
Part of the Troubles
LocationNewtownbreda, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Date19 September 1992 (UTC)
TargetNorthern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory
Attack type
Van bomb
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorProvisional Irish Republican Army
South Armagh Brigade

The Provisional IRA (PIRA) targeted the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory (NIFSL) facilities on Newtownbreda Road in the outskirts of Belfast with a large 3,000 lb bomb on 19 September 1992. The huge impact of the bomb destroyed the lab and damaged over 1,000 homes within a 1.5 mile radius, including adjacent Belvoir Park, a Protestant housing estate.[2][3] It was one of the biggest bombs ever detonated during Northern Ireland's Troubles, causing massive damage and being felt from over 10 miles away.[4] Hundreds of residents had to be treated for shock. Several military vehicles were damaged.[5] The lab was a key target because it analysed evidence in terrorist cases.[6] The IRA had given a warning, and British Army bomb disposal experts were investigating an abandoned van when the explosion occurred. One estimate put the repair damage cost at £20 million at the time.[7]

According to journalist and author Toby Harnden, the attack, from beginning to end was planned, and carried out by the IRA South Armagh Brigade. Volunteers from the brigade hijacked a truck near Newry and packed it with 3,500 pounds worth of explosives. They left the truck outside the Forensic Science Laboratory at 8:40pm, nearly 45 minutes later after a coded warning the bomb exploded. [8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CAIN - 1992 Chronology
  2. ^ John D., Taylor (1 February 1993). "Bomb Damage (Newtownbreda)". Hansard, HC Deb, 01 February 1993, Vol. 218, cc117-24. UK Government. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  3. ^ "IRA blast damages over 1,000 homes". The Independent. 24 September 1992. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  4. ^ Kearney, Vincent (2017-09-19). "'Biggest' IRA bomb targeted NI justice". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-06-03.
  5. ^ Oppenheimer, A.R. (2009). IRA: The Bombs and The Bullets. A History of Deadly Ingenuity. Irish Academic Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-7165-2895-1.
  6. ^ Cowley, Martin (24 September 1992). "Bombing of forensic lab likely to disrupt courts". The Irish Times. The Irish Times.
  7. ^ "Damage in huge blast put at 20m pounds: A Belfast housing estate". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-06-03.
  8. ^ Toby Harnden Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh pp.16