Squatters ‘have a Donnybrook’

AT least two people were stabbed when squatters had ‘a Donnybrook’ in Lurgan in 1974, according to a ‘MAIL’ headline.

First of all - what is a Donnybrook? It was once a village on the high road out of Dublin but which is now one of that city’s suburbs. King John gave a licence in 1204 to hold an annual fair in Donnybrook.

It was renowned in Ireland and beyond for its rowdiness and noise, and particularly for the whiskey-fuelled fighting that went on after dark.

The legend was that visitors to Donnybrook fair would rather fight than eat.

So back to Lurgan and apparently a domestic row involving squatters in Hill Street spilled out into the street.

It is thought the trouble developed over a dispute about the sale of a car.

Around a dozen men and women were involved in fist fights and scuffles. Cars were badly damaged, windows in houses were smashed and the interior of some dwellings were wrecked.

One man with a stab wound to his back was reported to have said that he had been attacked by someone who used a crowbar on him.

Later a second man was injured after a knife attack.

A policeman said: “The scene looked like a disaster area, as if there had been bombs and riots.

“The place was littered with glass and local residents were out complaining about the behaviour.”

About four or five families are thought to be involved in the feud. Some of them had drink taken.”