Interviewed in 2021
John Mulligan is a retired Superintendent in An Garda Síóchána. This piece of audio was taken from an interview undertaken in 2021 and as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, recorded through the Zoom platform. Here, John Mulligan recalls how he heard on the radio about the Dublin and Monaghan bombings on 17th May 1974 and explains that, although he was on a day off, he immediately dressed in his uniform and reported for duty.
John O’Brien (Interviewer): Perhaps, John, we can just talk a bit about, you know, how you heard about the news of what happened and whether you were working or not.
MR. MULLIGAN (Interviewee): I was actually at home, I think I might have been on a day off that day, and I was listening to the radio and next thing I heard about bombs in Dublin. And the more I heard, it became very clear that it was a terrible tragedy all together. So I rang the Bridewell a few times and I didn’t get any answer, the phone was engaged obviously, understandably enough, so I just put on my uniform, got into my car and I drove into the station. And when I walked in the door, I met the sergeant, and I have to admit I can’t remember which sergeant, but as I walked in he said ‘Good man, John, get up to the Richmond Hospital as quick as you can and do whatever you can up there.’ So I finished dressing my uniform, my coat and that, and went straight up to the Richmond casualty department, which would be just up the road from the Bridewell. It would be just in North Brunswick Street off Church Street and the Bridewell is just off Church Street just a short distance down. So when I went in there it was mayhem, it was absolute chaos, there was people all over the place. There was trollies with injured and wounded waiting to be processed, there was … There was doctors and nurses rushing about and it was, you could see the extent of the tragedy, it was a terrible tragedy … I was in the casualty department, yes, and it was a small enough casualty at that time and there were small theatres off the casualty and you could see doctors inside working, the doors were flying open and back. And while I was there, ambulances arrived with more people and, you know, injured etc, and it was really really distressing there at the time but one of the things that I do remember is, there was a couple of drunks started a fight and they started picking on members of staff. This is in the middle of the, in the middle of the whole tragedy that was going on. I called Control on my walkie talkie, on my radio, for a car and the late great Jim Ward, Bimbo, came on the radio. And Jim and I, we would have a history going back way before I joined the guards, or he joined the guards. ‘John Mulligan’ he says, ‘the cars are too busy, you go away and deal with that yourself.’ So I did. I caught one fella and I ran him out onto Morning Star Avenue and I ran the other fella down onto North Brunswick Street and warned them that if I saw them again they’d be in dire straits. So that’s more or less what happened at that time.