‘The garage shook so I went outside… it saved my life’: Comedian John Linehan on cheating death on Bloody Friday

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Comic John Linehan has recalled being caught up in essentially the most prolific day of IRA bombings IN the Troubles forward of the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Friday this week.

ine folks had been killed, together with two troopers and an RUC reserve constable, and 130 injured as a blitz of twenty-two bombs exploded throughout Belfast in underneath two hours on July 21, 1972.

Amongst those that dodged dying that day was panto legend John Linehan.

He’s now a family title because of his character Might McFettridge, however in July 1972 he was a 20-year-old apprentice mechanic at Dick & Co.

John was working on the agency’s storage on Donegall Avenue and hoped to get out of labor early to catch a ferry to England to go to his girlfriend’s household.

“I keep in mind that morning there have been bomb scares all over and we needed to clear the automobiles out of the showroom. It was a scary time,” he stated.

“Later I used to be changing the clutch on a Fiat 500 and I had the factor jacked up about two-and-a-half ft off the bottom. I used to be beneath it on a wee jack as there was no well being and security again then.

“The subsequent factor there was a commotion out the entrance of the constructing, so clearly all people went out to see what it was.

“We had been all out the entrance and, rapidly, the entire place shook and all of the rust off the girders got here down on all of the automobiles.

“Once I went again to the automobile I used to be engaged on, it had fallen off the jack — there have been no wheels on the again — and the whole thing was on the ground.

“If I had not gone to see what was occurring I might have been no extra. I simply went out to have a wee nosey and it saved my life. That evening once we had been on the Liverpool boat we had been wanting again on Belfast and you would simply see smoke in every single place.

“I used to be by no means so glad to get out of the place as a result of it was actually brutal that day.”

When requested if he thought of leaving Northern Eire within the aftermath, John stated: “I considered it lengthy and laborious.”

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The scene on the retailers on Cavehill Highway

His dad and mom had been additionally working within the metropolis centre that day, however in a time earlier than cellphones and sometimes unreliable landlines he recalled it was an wait to search out out in the event that they had been secure.

“You simply needed to wait till you bought house. There have been no cellphones, My mom had a landline however telephones didn’t at all times work. You simply needed to go house and do a head depend,” he stated.

“Is it any marvel that individuals’s nerves are wrecked now? Some folks by no means acquired over it.

“I’m simply a kind of individuals who thanks God for no matter occurs as a result of it occurs for a purpose. I didn’t let it fear me.”

The occasions of Bloody Friday are topic of an investigation and evaluate by the PSNI’s Legacy Investigation Department (LIB).

A police spokesperson stated of the standing of the investigation: “Regrettably, as a result of LIB caseload, we’re unable to offer any enterprise as to when these evaluations will start.”

The victims of Bloody Friday included troopers Stephen Cooper (19) and Philip Worth (27), who had been among the many six killed within the deadliest blast of the day at Oxford Avenue bus station.

The 4 others who died because of the bombing had been William Crothers (15), William Irvine (18), Thomas Killops (39) and bus driver Jackie Gibson (45).

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The aftermath at Oxford Avenue bus station

Three extra folks had been killed by a bomb planted exterior a row of retailers on the Cavehill Highway in north Belfast.

It might declare the IRA’s youngest sufferer of the day, 14-year-old Stephen Parker, and its oldest, Brigid Murray (65), together with 34-year-old Margaret O’Hare.

Victims campaigner and director of the South East Fermanagh Discussion board Kenny Donaldson, stated: “Bloody Friday has by no means had the main focus that it ought to have had.

“Whereas we’re some 50 years on it is necessary that this unsolved crime receives real focus and concern.”

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