30 Years Ago Today. RUC Member Killed Three in Sinn Féin Office Attack.
4 February 1992, a member of the RUC’s elite Divisional Mobile Support Unit launched a gun attack on people inside Sinn Féin’s advice center in Belfast’s Lower Falls. Three were killed and another two seriously wounded.
The three who died were 61-year-old office attendant Paddy Loughran; Sinn Féin activist Pat McBride; and a member of the public who had come to the center seeking advice, Michael O’Dwyer (25). The two injured were 28-year-old Sinn Féin activist Pat Wilson and another member of the public, Norah Larkin.
The carnage at the Sinn Féin office began shortly after 1.15 pm when RUC Constable Alan Moore gained access to the office by posing as a journalist. Sinn Féin worker Paddy Loughran contacted the press office located above the center and almost simultaneously was heard to shout over the intercom: “He’s got a gun!” Shots rang out from a pump-action shotgun and confusion reigned.
At 1.30 pm, the RUC arrived and immediately began assaulting those trying to enter the building to give aid to the wounded, at one point smashing a rifle butt into the stomach of a pregnant woman.
Within hours, the RUC was releasing its version of events about an officer who had “gone off the rails” due to the pressure of the job – a story eagerly consumed by the mainstream media, North and South. After the murders, Moore was reported to have driven about 15 miles to the shores of Lough Neagh and turned his gun on himself.
In a subsequent court case, it transpired that Moore had fired shots over a colleague's grave in Comber, County Down before other RUC members disarmed him and took him to Newtownards RUC barracks, where he appeared drunk, emotional, and aggressive.
He talked by phone to a colleague at Armagh and talked about shooting republican suspects, but was allowed to leave Newtownards RUC station with another officer, who was warned by his superior, "don't let him out of your sight".
Moore was allowed to drive out of Newtownabbey RUC barracks with the shotgun he used to attack the Sinn Féin office.