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It struck me that while there is some dramatic visual evidence of PIRA's attacks on customs during the Troubles (e.g. Newry Customs Office in 1972), and there's even some mention in Wikipedia of such attacks being performed even in the earlier Border Campaign (which wasn't all about attacks on the border proper, but the Saor Uladh and some IRA "splinter group" burned or bombed at least six customs posts in 1956), I could not find any quantitative estimates how often the IRA attacked border posts (of various kinds), including customs.

During the Troubles, the IRA seems to have often attacked the British army cratering operations (of minor roads) while they were ongoing. But that's a somewhat different issue.

So, are there any statistics on kind of attacks/operations that the IRA conducted on the border installations proper? Were customs buildings and officials often the target, or maybe more of a "collateral damage", e.g. due to an attack on the army personnel guarding it?


FWIW, the 1972 Newry bomb attack doesn't seem to have been the first on that installation, there was another the year before:

Saturday 27 November 1971: Two Customs officials, Ian Hankin (27) a Protestant and James O'Neill (39) a Catholic, were shot by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) sniper who fired upon a British Army (BA) patrol investigating a bomb attack on a Customs Post near Newry, County Armagh.

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I'm not convinced this is a comprehensive answer, but CAIN has an article about this topic, which does mention one more "ancient" 1937-1938 campaign against customs "huts":

"Blowing up customs huts had always been a favourite I.R.A. tactic and a number had gone up in 1937 in protest against a visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth." (Coogan, 1987 edition; p 175).

In 1938 the IRA carried out a bombing campaign against customs posts. A number of customs huts were destroyed by bombs placed in attaché cases that were then delivered by a bus parcel system to the posts to await collection by non-existent people. These bombs were timed to explode at night when the post was unoccupied. However, on one occasion three IRA members were killed at a farm cottage when preparing a bomb.

Besides that, there's the 1950s Border Campaign that I had partially discovered (in my question, regarding 1956), but with the addition of:

The campaign was very sporadic but between 15 and 17 July 1958 it flared up and a number of custom posts were destroyed in IRA attacks. One of the largest posts, at Killen on the main road from Belfast to Dundalk, was demolished.

However when it comes to PIRA, besides those 1971-1972 attacks on customs at Newry (and Killeen, near Newry, where the 1971 attack actually took place)... not much else is mentioned in that article. It does seem that customs were not a PIRA priority anymore in the 1980s and 1990s, unlike the (often nearby) army checkpoints.

Interestingly, the customs posts were still around until 1993 or so:

Customs controls were first introduced to the border following the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. In 1972, there were 17 Customs and Excise posts located at major road crossings along the land border. The introduction of the EU Single Market in 1993 eventually resulted in the closure of the last customs posts.

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