Friday 24 November 2017

70 years on, motive for wartime Dublin bombing still a mystery

Ken Sweeney

Ken Sweeney

ANOTHER week, another event steeped in historic symbolism, but still no explanation.

On the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Dublin in 1941, German Ambassador Busso Von Alvensleben yesterday opened a refurbished memorial garden for the victims.

Some 28 people died, 90 were hurt, hundreds were left homeless and around 300 homes were damaged after the 500lb landmine -- the last of four bombs dropped by a German plane on Dublin on the night of May 31 -- hit the North Strand.

It was the single worst atrocity suffered by the Republic during World War Two -- but the German ambassador admitted he still has no idea idea why the north inner city area was bombed.

"There has been a lot of research done but the reason for the bombing has never been established," Mr Von Alvensleben said.

"What is important nowadays, I think, is much less how everything came about and (instead) how we deal with it."

Nonetheless, scholars still debate whether it was a mistake on the part of the pilot or retribution by Hitler for Irish breaches of neutrality.

Among those at the event in the grounds of Marino College yesterday was Noel Brady (91), a veteran of the St John's Ambulance, who was on the scene within minutes. "When I got to the North Strand, there was debris everywhere," he said. "It was dark and we were treating the injured. We either sent people to the hospital, or to the morgue."

Councillor Ray McAdam, representing the Lord Mayor of Dublin, remembered "the many individuals and organisations who courageously rushed to the area to help, often at great personal risk".

There were lighter moments, too, yesterday. "The day after, the nearby St Agatha's Church never had such a huge crowd queueing for confession," said historian Pat Liddy.

The memorial park opened in 1982 but has been restored by a team led by Marino College principal Jim Martin.

Funding was provided by City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee, the Office of the Taoiseach, and the German embassy.

Mr Von Alvensleben said he was "very grateful for having been invited to the ceremony".

Irish Independent

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