A coroner has appealed for two veteran Irish journalists who were potentially at the scene of a loyalist bomb attack in Belfast to assist an inquest for one of the victims.
Coroner Joe McCrisken made a public appeal to Henry Kelly and Vincent Browne to come forward after he heard that efforts to make contact with the broadcasters had proved unsuccessful.
Kelly and Browne were newspaper reporters in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles in the early 1970s.
They both went on to forge successful broadcasting careers, Kelly as the host of 1980s BBC gameshow Going For Gold and Browne as a politics and current affairs presenter on Irish outlets such as RTE and TV3.
They have been identified as potential civilian witnesses in a fresh inquest for John Moran, who died following a gun and bomb attack at Kelly’s Bar on the Whiterock Road in Belfast in 1972.
The pub was packed with people watching a televised football match between England and West Germany on May 13 when a car bomb exploded.
Mr Moran, 19, was working as a barman and died 10 days later of injuries sustained in the explosion.
Another man, Thomas McIlroy, died in a shooting after the bombing, while a third victim, Gerard Clarke, died of his injuries 17 years later.
A lawyer representing the coroner told a preliminary inquest hearing in Belfast on Wednesday that neither of the former newspaper reporters had responded to correspondence from the Coroner’s Service.
“A combination of letters and emails and they still have not replied to any correspondence,” said the barrister.
Responding, Mr McCrisken said he wanted to make a public appeal to the men to come forward.
“We’d like to speak to Henry Kelly, and it’s the same Henry Kelly I’m thinking of who was a reporter back in the 1970s and 80s and was a host on a show called Going For Gold.
“It’s the same Henry Kelly, we’d like him to contact us.
“We’d like him to contact us, and the second journalist is Vincent Browne, and we’d like him to contact us as well.
“It might be that they know nothing and they remember nothing. But actually, if we can use the media in this regard, I’m making a plea for Henry Kelly and Vincent Browne to make contact with the coroner’s legacy inquest unit in Belfast.”
Another lawyer involved in the hearing told the coroner that Browne may be contactable through RTE or TV3 (now known as Virgin Media Ireland).
The inquest for Mr Moran is due to begin on May 23.
A further preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 12.