Interviewed in 2021
John Mulligan is a retired Superintendent in An Garda Síóchána. In this piece of audio, he remembers the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings of 17th May 1974. In this piece of audio, John Mulligan explains that the remains of the bodies were so badly damaged that identification was not possible immediately. He also remembers being given charge of the body of a girl called Anna Massey who could only be identified through a ring on her finger. He reflects emotionally on the hurt caused to the families of the victims and in particular Anna’s mother.
JOHN O’BRIEN (INTERVIEWER): And, John, the normal stuff that we would do, if there’s such a thing as a normal death, which is like the identification of the unfortunate victim and stuff and so on. In relation to your one, did you have any opportunity at that stage to do any identification or how did that, can you remember how that happened?
JOHN MULLIGAN (Interviewee): No, and the remains were so badly damaged that it was, there was nobody going to identify immediately anyway. No, what I did was, I identified, by number, the person that I had brought down, where he had been brought from, my name and I handed over to a detective the shards of metal that had been taken from him and he took my name and details and identified me with the body. So that was it and once I had handed over there, I stayed for a short while to give a handout moving a few people, and then I made my way back up to Richmond again. When I was there, again I was given charge of remains and I remember the name because she actually had a film star’s name and it was a young girl who was killed over in Nassau Street I think, her name was Anna Massey … Poor Anna was so badly damaged that the only way they could identify her was with a ring on her finger. I know that her family have been amongst those campaigning in the meantime and I can understand their hurt and their anger and their sadness and their bereavement because it was terrible loss to them. I suppose it was my first experience of empathy because my first thought was her mother, all I could think of was this poor girl’s mother is at home and she, you know, she has lost her child today. It really was terrible.
RESEARCH NOTE: Anna Massey was a twenty-one-year-old from Sallynoggin, Dublin, who worked in Lisney’s auctioneers and from. Anne was the eldest of seven girls and was a twin. She was one of only two people killed by the South Leinster street bomb. Her mother, who JM thought about that day, was Annie Massey who with her husband Frank, were looking forward to Anna’s wedding, just months after the bombing. Anna’s father Frank campaigned for many years for truth and justice. You can read a statement Frank made to the Barron Report in January 2004 HERE