On this day, May 17, 1974, thirty-three civilians are killed and 300 injured when the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) detonates four car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan, Republic of Ireland. It is the deadliest attack of the Troubles and the deadliest terrorist attack in the Republic's history.
There are credible allegations that elements of the British state security forces helped the UVF carry out the bombings, including members of the Glenanne gang. Some of these allegations have come from former members of the security forces. The Irish parliament's Joint Committee on Justice called the attacks an act of international terrorism involving British state forces. The month before the bombings, the British government had lifted the UVF's status as a proscribed organisation, meaning the UVF was not considered a terrorist organization at the time of the May 17 bombing.
The bombings occurred within the context of the Ulster Workers' Council strike, called by hardline loyalists and unionists in Northern Ireland who opposed the Sunningdale Agreement. Specifically, they opposed the sharing of political power with Irish nationalists, and the proposed role for the Republic in the governance of Northern Ireland. The Republic's government had helped bring about the Agreement. The strike brought down the Agreement and the Northern Ireland Assembly on May 28, 1974.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, on which the current system of Northern Irish devolution is based, closely resembles the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement.
Brian Faulkner, was the sixth and last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, from March 1971 until his resignation in March 1972. He was also the chief executive of the short-lived Northern Ireland Executive during the first half of 1974. His radical leadership style briefly gave hope to Northern Ireland.