Irish TV presenter Eamonn Holmes has revealed that he was once on a bus that was hijacked and blown up by the IRA.
The This Morning star, who grew up in Belfast, said that a man in a balaclava came onto the bus and doused it in petrol before setting it on fire.
The 59-year-old discussed the terrifying moment when he appeared as a guest on Kate Thornton’s White Wine Question Time podcast.
Holmes was a youngster on his way to school when the incident occurred – but he didn’t get any sympathy from his teachers, who punished him for being late.
He said: “Our bus was hijacked on the Antrim Road. And this man wearing a balaclava came on and said, ‘We are commandeering this bus for the Irish Republican Army’.
“He starts sprinkling petrol everywhere so we get off. And they throw a petrol bomb on to the bus and set it on fire. So, we walk the next mile and a half to school.
“We got to the college, the gate was closed and Father Walsh was standing on top of the driveway. I looked at him thinking, ‘I’m dead now. I’m absolutely dead’.
“He looks at me and says, ‘Detention’. I got detention for the IRA hijacking my bus. It was my fault basically.”
Holmes described the issues he faced as a youngster growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
When he was 10, his father was arrested under terror laws during a family trip to England to watch Manchester United.
As the boat docked in Liverpool, Holmes’ father was arrested. Holmes said he was ‘absolutely terrified’ but thankfully a doctor onboard vouched for his father and they were free to continue their trip.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling
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