35 years ago PIRA planted a bomb, attached to canisters (petrol/sugar mix, home-made napalm) on metal grills over a function room window.
The explosion created a fireball 40 feet high and 60 feet wide. There were over 400 people in the La Mon Hotel attending The Irish Collie Club and the NI Junior Motorcycle Club annual dinner dances.Twelve people were killed including three married couples, and 23 seriously injured, some continued to receive treatment 20 years after the bomb.
PIRA claimed they were delayed in making a warning call by a vandalized phone box and a UDR checkpoint, the call was received minutes before the bomb exploded, the timing device used had a maximum time delay of 58 mins.
Two men were tried in connection with La Mon. Eddie Brophy was acquitted of the bombing but convicted of IRA membership. Robert Murphy was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was freed on licence in 1995.
The victims families and survivors have called for an inquiry into the bombing and the police investigation...
BBC News - La Mon IRA bomb victims want public inquiry after HET reportIn a statement today, they claimed: "It would appear to the victims that key documents were removed from the files with the view to protecting IRA members who today may be involved in the peace process at the highest level.
"This case, in common with other major investigations, appears to show that the will to uncover the truth has been curtailed for fear of destabilising the current political process."
La Mon bomb massacre files 'lost' to protect IRA, say relatives - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
â€œThey burnt us alive, yet itâ€™s forgotten aboutâ€ La Mon survivor - Headlines - Belfast Newsletter
â€˜Finucane-style reviewâ€™ urged over La Mon - Headlines - Belfast NewsletterBertie Campbell from Ulster Human Rights Watch claims they have been denied access to intelligence documents and pointed out that barrister Sir Desmond Lorenz de Silva, who carried out the Finucane report, was given access to intelligence documents.
“The victims of terrorism of the La Mon House atrocity call for a new investigating process to be set up in order to ensure that the truth is revealed,” Ulster Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
“They ask Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to appoint a legal expert to conduct an independent review into the question of possible state involvement in protecting members of the IRA responsible for the planning and execution of the massacre.”
Last year it was reported in the media that former double agent Denis Donaldson was suspected of involvement in the La Mon attack.
DONALDSON WAS LA MON BOMBER; HOTEL MASSACRE REVELATION. - Free Online LibraryAmong the 25 men arrested in the wake of the horrific fireball bombing was Sinn Fein chief Adams along with Donaldson, sources have told the Sunday Mirror.
Adams was charged with IRA membership that year but was later acquitted.
However, in 2003 he was named in the House of Commons under parliamentary privilege by then-Strangford MP Iris Robinson as having masterminded the attack.
The Sinn Fein boss strenuously denied the allegation and has always insisted that he has never been a member of the IRA.
Today we can also reveal l how the Provo gang that night 34 years ago thought they were unleashing the might of their deadly bomb on a gathering of RUC men at the hotel but had actully got the wrong date.
Our source said: "They thought the hotel would be filled with RUC personnel - they were the intended target. "The RUC gathering was to the day - a week before.
"They got the wrong night. It was a botched job."
Instead, their unsuspecting victims were attending the annual Irish Collie Club dinner dance.
It is believed the gang stopped at a number of petrol stations in the area to fill up jerry cans before attaching the blast incendiary with a meat hook on to a window grille at the hotel.
It is thought that up to 60 people could have been involved with the planning and execution of the deadly attack.
A security source said: "Donaldson and [the other IRA informer] were operating in the IRA in East Belfast at that time.
"They were both heavily involved in the La Mon operation - it was given authorization at the highest level."
A republican source said: "Wee Denis Donaldson was a trusted aide to Gerry, all their lives, since their Cage Eleven days [when they were interned in Long Kesh]. He was a key advisor if not the key strategist for Gerry at that time.
"Denis knew many of those who carried out the attack. Spud Murphy was from the east of the city.
"Another man, who was later outed as an informer, worked in the IRA team in that area at the time."
The second IRA spy was pulled out of Belfast by his security force handlers a number of years ago.
La Mon was only one of many horrific chapters during the 'troubles'. There are many on both 'sides' who would like questions answered, but in most incidences the perpetrators and the puppet masters remain unpunished. Hopefully some day in this life or the next they will be...