Relatives of Brougher bomb victims commemorate 50 years of the IRA attack by dedicating a new memorial on the mountain

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

Relatives of John Eakins, 52, who was one of five men murdered in an IRA bomb attack on Brougher Mountain in Fermanagh in February 1971, at the dedication of a memorial to the men, on Saturday October 2 2021
Relatives of John Eakins, 52, who was one of five men murdered in an IRA bomb attack on Brougher Mountain in Fermanagh in February 1971, at the dedication of a memorial to the men, on Saturday October 2 2021

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.

A family member one of five men killed by an IRA bomb, on Brougher mountain on Saturday 50 years ago as they travelled to repair a BBC transmitter. The families of the victims of an IRA bomb gathered there for the dedication of a new memorial. Photo: Kenny Donaldson/PA Wire

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

John Eakins, 52, 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.

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

Handout photo courtesy of Kenny Donaldson of a plaque in memory of five men killed by an IRA bomb, on Brougher mountain 50 years ago as they travelled to repair a BBC transmitter. The families of the victims of an IRA bomb have gathered on Brougher mountain for the dedication of a new memorial 50 years on. Picture date: Saturday October 2, 2021. PA Photo. 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. See PA story ULSTER Memorial . Photo credit should read: Kenny Donaldson/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

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.

“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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