Families unveil plaque to five killed by IRA bomb on Brougher mountain

The men were killed 50 years ago as they travelled to repair a BBC transmitter
Families unveil plaque to five killed by IRA bomb on Brougher mountain

By Dominic McGrath, PA

The families of the victims of an IRA bomb have gathered on Brougher mountain in Northern Ireland for the dedication of a new memorial 50 years on.

The ceremony on Saturday on the mountain, on the border between Co Tyrone and Co Fermanagh, remembered the five men killed in the blast in February 1971.

They were killed as they travelled to repair a BBC transmitter on the mountain.

It is believed the bomb was intended for an Army patrol and had been triggered by a tripwire.

Two BBC engineers, 35-year-old William Alan Thomas and 23-year-old Malcolm Henson, died in the blast.

52-year-old John Eakins, 27-year-old Harry Edgar and 43-year-old George Beck were also killed.

The three men had been travelling from Kilkeel in Co Down as part of the work.

Innocent lives

Victims group the South East Fermanagh Foundation organised the ceremony to dedicate the new memorial.

A granite plaque was placed at the site of the bombing.

The event was meant to take place in February but was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenny Donaldson, from the group, said the incident had sometimes been forgotten.

“Fifty years ago there was a huge loss of innocent lives at Brougher mountain, yet little is known of those events beyond the immediacy of those impacted,” he said.

There has been no formal recognition of the tragedy at the site

“We feel it absolutely essential that this milestone anniversary be acknowledged and that the families be recognised for the horrific loss they sustained and for which little attention has ever been given.

“Five hard-working men, the majority of whom had their own families, perished at the hands of the actions of Provisional IRA terrorists that fateful day.

“There has been no formal recognition of the tragedy at the site, no memorial or plaque was ever placed there.”

Linda Gilmore, the daughter of Mr Eakins, said on Saturday: “It means a lot to me and our family that my daddy and the other men are now officially remembered at that location.

“They will never be airbrushed away, they mattered to us.

“Brougher mountain is synonymous with pain for my family but today, in returning here, I have also found some inner peace.”

She said that the IRA had stolen “five innocent lives that day, but they will not steal our memories”.

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