attention of the world's press was on Aer Lingus flight EI 164, which had been hijacked with 113 passengers and crew on board.

The flight on 2 May 1981 from Dublin to London Heathrow was diverted to Le Touquet airport in France. The hijacker, Australian Larry Downey, had initially demanded to be flown to Iran but settled for France when he was told that the plane had insufficient fuel.

The plane landed at Le Touquet airport, where negotiations went on for eight hours. Larry Downey's demand was that Pope John Paul II make public the Third Secret of Fatima. Following hours of tension, the hijacker was overpowered by French paratroopers and the passengers were freed.

First onboard to meet the passengers was the Minister for Transport Albert Reynolds, told the media how events had unfolded. Albert Reynolds had been involved in the negotiations throughout the hijack. He describes how the hi-jacker had a small bottle of liquid, which he claimed was cyanide and also had petrol sprayed over him.

This fella had a small bottle of liquid which he claimed was cyanide... He certainly had petrol sprayed over him and petrol as you know will not show up on a scanner like other liquids.

RTÉ Newst spoke to Captain Eddie Foyle, the crew and passengers about the ordeal.

Passenger Terry McCormack gives her account of what happened and describes her first impressions of the hijacker when he boarded the plane and sat next to her and her daughter.

He looked like a very prosperous business man... He was very polite to us... We didn't suspect anything.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 May 1981. The reporter is by Eddie Barrett.