Two bomb blasts rocked the centre of Dublin on Friday night (1 December), killing two people and injuring up to 200, as Prime Minister Jack Lynch was assured of Parliamentary backing for tough new action against terrorism.
GV Parliament building PAN TO crowd of students with banners outside
SV Poster "Kill the Bill"
CU Other posters
GV PAN Demonstrators PAN TO leaders speaking on loud hailer
CU Leader speaking PAN crowd applauding
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Background: Two bomb blasts rocked the centre of Dublin on Friday night (1 December), killing two people and injuring up to 200, as Prime Minister Jack Lynch was assured of Parliamentary backing for tough new action against terrorism.
The Irish Republican Army (IRA), the main target of the emergency legislation, immediately issued a statement denying all responsibility for the bomb attacks. The two explosions, outside a bar near historic Liberty Hall and in a street just off Dublin's main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street, turned the tide in the Irish Parliament for Mr. Lynch's anti-IRA measures.
The Prime Minister had been facing defeat and appeared ready to call a quick general election on the Irish people's attitude towards terrorism. But, in an atmosphere of general shock at the new bomb attacks, the main opposition party, Fine Gael, cancelled its plans to vote against the bill. The final vote was 70-23, with many abstentions in the 144-seat house.
Earlier on Friday, as the bill was debated in Parliament, thousands students demonstrated outside. Their leaders deplored the bill which will reverse the traditional onus of proof when a person is accused by a senior police officer of belonging to an illegal organisation. The accused would have to prove his innocence. Penalties provide for up to five years in jail and fine of 1,000 sterling.
Mr. Lynch's Fianna Fail government claims the new powers are essential to control the "men of violence", who have been directing the guerrilla war against British rule in Northern Ireland, often using the soil of the Republic of Ireland as a safe haven.