A confrontation has taken place between Irish and British troops at Munnilly Bridge near Clones, County Monaghan.
Munilly Bridge not far from Clones was the location for a standoff between Irish Defence Forces and British Army soldiers earlier today. This small river bridge which had previously been blown up by British troops, was subsequently rebuilt by local people and renamed 'Taylor's Brooke’.
When a company of British soldiers arrived to plant explosives for a second time, a Garda squad car from Clones was driven onto the bride. The Gardaí informed the British troops that their explosives had been mistakenly placed on the Republic's side.
The commander in charge told the Gardaí to leave, which they refused to do, and radioed for Army support. The company of Irish soldiers from Cootehill Barracks who arrived within a short space of time were deployed in the vicinity of the bridge and also on adjacent high ground,
They took up firing positions around the bridge.
Following a discussion between an officer from the Defence Forces and his British counterpart, the Monaghan County Surveyor was called for, and with the aid of a map showed the British troops that some of their charges were laid on land belonging to the Republic.
At this point the British officer admitted that that had made a mistake and agreed to withdraw. The explosives in question were removed by Irish soldiers and taken to their barracks at Cootehill.
Patrick Quigley from Clones who witnessed the standoff tells RTÉ News that one British soldier had second thoughts about leaving the gelignite behind. Some local men who jumped into the river foiled his attempt to remove it which he describes as,
A bit of a tussle…then he was allowed go back to the other side of the border.
An RTÉ News report was broadcast on 28 October 1971. The reporter is Donal Kelly.