#OTD in 2000 – Gardaí arrest a man in connection with the bombing of Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street, Dublin, in 1966.

A man claimed to have blown up Nelson’s Pillar in the centre of Dublin in 1966 was arrested and questioned by police. Liam Sutcliffe was ordered to present himself at Store Street Garda station in the Irish capital.

Under the Irish Republic’s Offences Against the State Act, he could be detained and held for 72 hours without charge. In April, Mr Sutcliffe stated on Irish radio that he had blown up the famous landmark, a symbol of British rule. He was subsequently questioned by gardaí but refused to give information about who else was involved.

Mr Sutcliffe later said: “I wouldn’t make a statement after 34 years. It was all those years ago. It would be like someone being arrested in the 1950s for taking over the GPO in 1916.”

The IRA was blamed for the 1966 attack on the 134ft Nelson’s Pillar. The bombing was assumed to have been timed to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter rebellion.

The pillar was partially demolished but much more damage was caused to shops and premises on O’Connell Street when the Irish Army subsequently attempted to clear the monument’s remaining stump.

‘Dublin’
(Louis MacNiece)

Grey brick upon brick,
Declamatory bronze
On sombre pedestals –
O’Connell, Grattan, Moore –
And the brewery tugs and the swans
On the balustraded stream
And the bare bones of a fanlight
Over a hungry door
And the air soft on the cheek
And porter running from the taps
With a head of yellow cream
And Nelson on his pillar
Watching his world collapse.

Photo: The remains of Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street, Dublin

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