‘My daily job was to place bombs in Belfast centre’

Robert McClenaghan campaigning with family members of those murdered in the 1971 McGurks Bar bombing, attend a meeting with the Police Ombudsman's Office to present new evidence on the atrocity.''Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Robert McClenaghan campaigning with family members of those murdered in the 1971 McGurks Bar bombing, attend a meeting with the Police Ombudsman's Office to present new evidence on the atrocity.''Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

A member of the Victims and Survivors Forum has said he was “immensely proud” of joining the IRA and how it was his “daily job” to plant bombs across Belfast.

Robert McClenaghan was speaking in the 2011 documentary ‘When the war ends’ by director Thijs Schreuder. It is available to view on YouTube.

The information has come to light after forum member Jackie Nichols discovered Mr McClenanaghan’s background and resigned in anger.

Mr Nichol’s 17-month-old son died in a no-warning IRA bomb attack on the Shankill Road in 1971.

Now living in Carrickfergus, he resigned after seeing the documentary about Mr McClenaghan, in which he said he joined the IRA in 1974 at age 17 after seeing violence threaten his home.

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Speaking of the murder of his grandfather in a loyalist bombing in 1971, Mr McClenaghan says on film that it “just devastated our family ever since”.

He laments a long list of friends killed in the Troubles and that he is missing from key events in his family photograph album from 1976 to 1988 when he was in jail.

Speaking of joining the IRA, however, he said: “I felt immensely proud.

“You were being physically trained to use real weapons that can and do and did kill people.”

He added: “We went on to place the bombs in Belfast city centre. Some of the bombs would be small or some would have been very big. That just became part of your job or part of your day after a while.”

Sometimes emotional, he is shown attending chapel, reflecting on hardships he suffered in prison and the profound toll his IRA life took. However, when he feels low, he said, he lifts himself by reflecting on the life of hunger striker Bobby Sands. At no time is he shown reflecting on how many people his bombs may have killed or showing any remorse for his actions.

The News Letter asked him how many people his bombs killed and how many victims were created as a result.

However Mr McClenaghan responded that he did not wish to comment.