An IRA bomb causes a massive explosion and fire destroying the Co-op store in York Street Belfast.

On 10 May 1972, the Co-operative Society's headquarters and flagship store on York Street in Belfast was destroyed by an IRA bomb..

The remains of Ireland's biggest department store after the biggest fire of the present bombing campaign.

It is thought that the fire was started by a 30 pound bomb placed on the third floor of the four storey building. Security guards in the store did not believe the police when they reported that a telephone warning said that a bomb had been planted. As a result, the building was not evacuated when the bomb exploded. Fortunately, the shop was closed for the day and the few staff on site were not seriously injured. The president of the Co-op visited the site today to inspect the damage and assess what to do about the 750 jobs.

Over 70 firemen were called to deal with the blaze which is still burning.

Chairman of the Northern Ireland Labour Party Erskine Holmes expressed criticism of the IRA for planting the bomb and destroying the building which has now resulted in job losses. He called for the "mad bombers" to cease their campaign. The Northern Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions described the fire as a crippling blow to the cooperative movement which was owned entirely by the working people.

The flames and smoke which arose from each evil deed were creating a furnace of bitterness amongst people in the North which would be difficult to quench.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 11 May 1972. The reporter is Kevin Myers.

Kevin Meyers reports from the scene of the fire on York Street, Belfast in 1972
Kevin Myers reports from the scene of the fire on York Street, Belfast in 1972