Milltown Cemetery attack

Milltown Cemetery Attack

Civilian Attack
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Milltown Cemetery attack

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Description:
The Milltown Cemetery attack (also known as the Milltown Cemetery killings or Milltown Massacre) took place on 16 March 1988 in Belfast's Milltown Cemetery. During the funeral of three Provisional IRA volunteers, Ulster Defence Association (UDA) member Michael Stone attacked the crowd with grenades and pistols, killing three and wounding over sixty.

Background

On 16 March 1988, Provisional IRA members Daniel McCann, Seán Savage and Mairéad Farrell, who had been killed by the SAS in Gibraltar, were due to be buried in the republican plot at Milltown Cemetery, Belfast. In a change from normal security procedures, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and British Army had agreed to stay away from the funeral. The funeral service and requiem mass went ahead as planned, and the cortege made its way to Milltown Cemetery, off the Falls Road.

Attack

As the coffins were being lowered into the ground, a burst of gunfire was heard. At first, it was mistaken for the usual three-volley salute given at IRA funerals and some people even applauded. However, it was not a salute. A lone UDA member from East Belfast, Michael Stone, had infiltrated the crowd of mourners in an attempt to eliminate Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness with several RGD-5 hand grenades and two handguns, a 9mm Browning Hi-Power semi-automatic pistol and a .357 Magnum revolver. Stone killed three people: Catholic civilians Thomas McErlean (20) and John...
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