Interviewed in 2021
John Mulligan is a retired Superintendent in An Garda Síóchána. In this piece of audio, John notes that he had previously been present during the December 1972 bombing at Eden Quay and Sackville Place (near Marlborough Street). He refers to Detective superintendent John McGelligot who he states had a very narrow escape in in the 1972 bombing.
JOHN O’BRIEN (INTERVIEWER): And just on a kind of a general background point, John, because I know we’ve all dealt with end of life situations, but up to that particular point did you have any, you know, great experience dealing with dead bodies in kind of traumatic circumstances or was this a very new experience for you?
JOHN MULLIGAN: No, funnily enough, well, sadly enough I was there The bombings down on Margaret place, I would have been one of those who arrived on the scene reasonably quickly afterwards. I don’t know if you remember John McElligott, he was a Detective superintendent? And I remember seeing John one day and he’d had a very narrow escape. He had been standing at the end of Marlborough Place trying to clear the place when a bomb went up and killed a CIE employee, a bus employee.
MR. O’BRIEN: That was in 1972 if I remember correctly, John, 1st December 1972?
MR. MULLIGAN: I think you’re right, yes. I was in the car with Pat Hunter that particular day and Pat was the man who was driving the day that Dick Fallon was shot. On the quays, not too far away. And John was standing there and a huge lump of rubber from a tyre came crashing down nearby and just missed him and he often says he was a very very lucky man to survive that one himself, you know. Yeah, I had seen bodies. Obviously, you’re dealing with I mean, I was a motorcyclist, I was dealing with traffic accidents and you’d be getting calls to “sudden deaths” as they’re called and so on. So, yeah, I had fished bodies out of the river as well.
MR. O’BRIEN: So, yeah, and this was kind of, if you like, kind of the ordinary stuff we did as young, uniformed guards and nothing, no particular training would have prepared us for it. So it was almost instinctive, although we would have known about the record keeping and the need for continuity, but largely we were depending on whatever gifts God gave us I would have thought, John, yeah?
MR. MULLIGAN: Very much so, very much so. It was I think the real thing about the bombings was such an overkill, if you pardon the expression, it was so massive, you know. That was way beyond any of our experiences ok.