Interviewed on 1 June 2021
Retired Superintendent Michael McKenna was recorded on 1st June 2021 for the RGSMA Oral History Project. As part of that interview, Michael recalled his personal memories of the Dublin bombings of May 1974, during which he was on duty in the city when the bombs detonated. His testimony brings you to the very moment of the explosion and the devastating impact. In this piece of audio, Michael reflects on his personal connections to some of the victims.
JOHN O’BRIEN (INTERVIEWER): Michael, if I may interrupt, you would have known some of the people who had businesses on the street and some of the restaurant owners from your familiarity with the streets?
MICHAEL McKENNA: Yeah, I would have known people more to see than to talk to but most people knew who I was and I knew who they were and where their businesses were. As I say there was a [short break in recording] and his two young sons were seriously injured in the Parnell Street bombing and I met one of the sons after at the inquest many years later and he was able to tell me, he said: ‘My uncle nearly knocked you down, he drove like a lunatic with myself and me brother’ they were both badly injured ‘to the Jervis Street Hospital’ and he ‘he nearly knocked you down.’ I did remember a red van flying by me, all right, but I knew it hadn’t come that close to me but the chap thought it had. They were taken off to hospital. They recovered but they were still suffering from injuries many, many years later.
MR. O’BRIEN: You knew some Italian families there as well I think, Michael?
MR. McKENNA: The Italian chap was Antonio Magliocco and he was hit with debris from the bomb and he fell to the ground and his family, or parents, I think his brother might have owned the Venetian Cafe. Yeah. He died in the thing as well. I would say he was still alive for a short time. He was a native of a place in Italy and he was killed more or less instantly, I would say, he was with his brother in the restaurant, his wife and family moved back to Italy years after his death but his brother and sisters remained in Ireland. It was an horrific event. I never experienced anything ever like it since and I wouldn’t ever like to see it again. I know on occasions when I hear of bombs exploding anywhere in the world or even here in Ireland when they were exploding in Ireland I could still remember, I could still see the Parnell Street bomb explode. I think there were over ten people killed in Parnell Street and many were injured. Then of course there was a lot of people killed and injured in Talbot Street and South Leinster Street and in Monaghan. The loss to the families was terrible because people went out that day to do shopping, or whatever they were going to do, going about their business and suddenly 33 people never came home, and that was horrific for the families of those people.