One of a series of images of the raid available from Dublin City Council.
At 2am in the morning of 31st May, Dublin, capital of neutral Ireland was bombed by the Luftwaffe. It was the most serious incident in a string of accidental bombings to hit Ireland during the war, probably attributable to navigational errors. Such errors may have resulted with British interference with the Luftwaffe navigational beams – but the British did not have the capacity to direct the beams on to a new target, only to interfere with them.
The Irish Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera, made a statement to the Irish Parliament summarising the incident:
Members of the Dáil desire to be directly associated with the expression of sympathy already tendered by the Government on behalf of the nation to the great number of our citizens who have been so cruelly bereaved by the recent bombing. Although a complete survey has not yet been possible, the latest report which I have received is that 27 persons were killed outright or subsequently died; 45 were wounded or received other serious bodily injury and are still in hospital; 25 houses were completely destroyed and 300 so damaged as to be unfit for habitation, leaving many hundreds of our people homeless.
It has been for all our citizens an occasion of profound sorrow in which the members of this House have fully shared. (Members rose in their places.) The Dáil will also desire to be associated with the expression of sincere thanks which has gone out from the Government and from our whole community to the several voluntary organisations the devoted exertions of whose members helped to confine the extent of the disaster and have mitigated the sufferings of those affected by it. As I have already informed the public, a protest has been made to the German Government. The Dáil will not expect me, at the moment, to say more on this head.