Troubles amnesty: Brother of man killed by IRA bomb on new year’s day 40 years ago speaks out against plan government proposals

The brother of a 20-year-old man who was killed in a bomb attack on New Year’s Day 40 years ago has spoken out against the government’s Troubles legacy proposals.

By Niall Deeney
Monday, 3rd January 2022, 7:25 am
Updated Monday, 3rd January 2022, 7:25 am
Samuel Pollock was aged just 20 when he died after an IRA bomb exploded in a friend’s car on January 1, 1982
Samuel Pollock was aged just 20 when he died after an IRA bomb exploded in a friend’s car on January 1, 1982

Glenn Pollock was just 19 when he lost his older brother, Samuel, to the IRA bomb attack in 1982.

Samuel, a bricklayer, had just got into a parked car belonging to his friend – an off-duty UDR private – when the bomb exploded.

There were two other people in the car – the off-duty UDR private and a friend, who was a Catholic.

Samuel Pollock had a fun-loving personality said his brother Glenn

The other men survived but, sadly, Samuel was struck by a piece of shrapnel and died.

He was described as “a wee gentleman” during his funeral, which was conducted by the Rev Ian Paisley at the Presbyterian Church on Banbridge Road, in Dromore, Co Down.

It was not the first time the Pollock family had been forced to cope with tragedy.

Samuel, the eldest of six boys, lost his mother when she was hit by a drink-driver while walking in 1973.

And the boys’ uncle, RUC officer Roger Pollock, was badly injured in what Glenn Pollock described as a booby-trap bomb explosion at his home in Banbridge in 1981.

“The family was still reeling from the shock of that when tragedy struck again on New Year’s Day, 1982, with the murder of Samuel,” Mr Pollock said.

The 40 years that have gone past have not dimmed the memories, he explained.

“I remember that night so vividly as I was the last one in the family to see Samuel alive before he was murdered,” Mr Pollock said.

“He’d asked me to go with him on his usual run up to his girlfriend’s, a waitress who worked a local hotel restaurant. I declined as I needed to clean up a job we had just done in one of the rooms at home.

“The UDR friend had parked the car in Donard car park and, when returning to it, he had moved a short distance backwards when the bomb went off.”

Home alone as a teenager, police arrived to tell him the news.

“I heard an explosion then, a short time after that, the police arrived to tell me Samuel was dead,” he said.

“Our dad, who was attending the funeral of another person connected to the family circle in Lisburn, rushed home after hearing the tragic news.”

On the government’s proposals to deal with the legacy of the Troubles, which amount to an effective amnesty, Mr Pollock said: “Constantly, over the years, the government has not wanted to address the legacy of the Troubles.

“It keeps getting put on the back burner, further and further down the road, and relatives are dying off. The issues are not settled. There are broken hearted families and it has never been resolved.

“Now, they think with this amnesty they can close the book on it, but for the families it’s not the answer. We can’t close the book on it. Justice has to be served.”

He said his Christian faith has sustained him, and his relatives, through the pain of losing Samuel at such a young age.

“I became a born-again Christian,” he said. “I got saved in 2010 and it’s only through the Lord Jesus that I had the strength for times like these. My dad got saved many years before and it was his faith that got him through it all.”

He described his older brother as “a guy who was outgoing, attracted a lot of attention, and found it easy to make friends – both Protestant and Catholic”.

Mr Pollock continued: “He loved music, singing rock’n’roll, and was a teddy boy during the rock’n’roll, rockabilly revival of the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

“Through his teen years he, at times, was rebellious but he had a fun-loving personality too.”

He added: “Samuel never got to be a husband, a father, a grandfather, or even an uncle.

“Sadly, he missed those wedding days, births, and chances to meet new members of the family circle.

“All we have to speak to the next generation of him are our precious memories.”

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