The Troubles Podcast


The Loughgall Ambush

Season 2, Ep. 2

This episode focuses on the IRA's largest loss of life during the Troubles. The unit had planned on launching an attack on an RUC barracks, and were unaware that their every move was being watched. As they moved in to attack the barracks, the British SAS were lying in wait for them.


Like with all incidents covered during the Troubles, there are a lot of sources which have a habit of saying conflicting information. Here's the full, unedited list of corrections sent to me by Mairead Kelly, who is the director of the Loughgall Truth & Justice Campaign and campaigns on behalf of the families of the men killed.

  • The opening states that the plan was to ram a JCB through the security fence- when the bomb exploded and the British soldiers came out armed ira men would get out of the van and open fire on the soldiers – this is inaccurate as there would not have been British soldiers in this station. There were there because they knew in advance that the attack was going to take place and instead of devising a plan to prevent the attack they allowed it to take place to justify the shooting of all the men including the 2 civilians.
  • Only one of the 8 men wore a bullet proof vest
  • How do you know after they pass the station twice that they were surprised that no one was coming out?
  • Why if someone in a scout car saw a helicopter would they not alert the IRA team as they had radio contact?
  • Only Gerard O Callaghan joined Declan Arthurs on the digger
  • It was 7.25pm when the digger crashed through the fence this was also when the 3 men from the van had got out and fired at the station through the perimeter fence they were joined by 2 more men at this stage the firing from the SAS had been intense and the bomb had then exploded.
  • The shooting lasted approximately 10 minutes.
  • It is alleged that the civilians starting reversing but there is no evidence to support this - Mr Oliver Hughes the survivor clearly stated at a mock trial in New York in 1997 that they stopped as the bomb exploded and they were about to reverse when they were shot at
  • The families left the inquest in 1995 because their barrister had been denied a copy of the depositions prior to the witness taking the stand – the barrister then lodged for a judicial review on this not because we the families believed the inquest to be biased.
  • The HET report in 2012 was a flawed report and was under review by a fresh team of HET investigators just before the HMIC report found that any case where the state especially the British military had been involved in were not investigated without bias and were not treated the same as all other cases where the state was not involved in the killings.


Excellent documentary which features the Loughgall Ambush:

Article about the IRA Unit being monitored before the attack:

The Ambush told from the perspective of the SAS:

IRA Member speaking about the attack:

Sinn Fein Councillor speaking about the attack in 2011:

A full account of the event:

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