FRAZER: IRA men’s families should pay for bullets used to kill them

‘I am shocked, especially at this time when we are supposed to be dealing with the past that there’s still an attitude like that – Brian McGirr.

RELATIVES of two IRA men murdered and shot in the back by the SAS in Co Tyrone have expressed shock after loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer said they should be “charged for the rounds the soldiers used”.


Colm McGirr (23) and Brian Campbell (19) were murdered in a field on Cloghog Road near Coalisland where an arms dump had been discovered in December 1983. The Irish News this week revealed that a report for the police Historical Enquries Team had found that the Provisional IRA members had been shot in the back. Their familes now plan to sue the British government over the findings, which appear to contradict accounts given by the undercover soldiers who said the men were shot dead while pointing weapons at them. Leading flag protester Willie Frazer (53) posted a picture of the article on the Protestant Coalition Facebook page. An accompanying message read: “The family’s [sic] of these terrorist scum (one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter) say they will sue the government, because the SAS shot them. I say charge the family for the rounds the soldiers used on the tramps. Or at least they need to say sorry to the innocent victims. If they like to make a check (sic) payable to William Frazer to show remorse for what the two scum did I will past it on to the innocent victims. And I think the SAS men should get a medal for the good work they did.”

The Protestant Coalition was launched as a political party last April with Mr Frazer and other prominent flag protesters among its leading members. Its Facebook site describes it as aimng “to secure parity of esteem for the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist people of Northern Ireland”. Colm McGirr’s brother Brian (58), from Coalisland, on Wednsday night said he was deeply shocked by the remarks. “We have suffered just as much as any other family, as much as the families of soldiers or policemen,” he said. “My mother is 95 at the minute and she has suffered just as much as any other mother. “To come out with stuff like that, it’s just unbelievable.” Mr McGirr said both families fully support the peace process and political efforts to tackle contentious issues such as addressing the past. “I am shocked, especially at this time when we are supposed to be dealing with the past that there’s still an attitude like that,” he said. “Any mother of any soldier, we wouldn’t have that attitude towards their families.”

With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes, The Irish News.

IRA men were shot in the back by SAS soldiers

HET findings published as Haass talks break up without agreement -into ‘Shot-to-Kill’ policy’s in the North of Ireland.

TWO IRA men were shot in the back by SAS soldiers in Co Tyrone 30 years ago, a report has found. The families of Colm McGirr (23) and Brian Campbell (19) on Monday 30th December said they planned to sue the British government and wanted fresh inquests into their deaths.


The news came as US diplomat Richard Haass failed to make the party’s in the North of Ireland come to an agreement on dealing with the past, parades and flags. Among the issues holding up the progress have been mechanisms for giving evidence to Historical inquires by bodies taking over the functions of the PSNI‘s/RUC‘s Historical Enquires Team (HET) and the Police Ombudsman. The fresh report into the Co Tyrone killings was carried out by a forensic pathologist for the HET. It appears to contradict accounts given by the undercover soldiers who claimed the pair were shot dead while pointing weapons towards them. Mr McGirr and Mr Campbell, who were members of the Provisional IRA, were murdered by the SAS in a  field on Cloghog Road near Coalisland, Co Tyrone, on December 4 1983. A third man was injured but escaped. Their deaths fuelled claims of a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy by the British government against IRA members.

Testimony from the soldiers had claimed that the men were removing weapons hidden in the field and on being challenged “Colm McGirr turned and pointed a shotgun towards one of the soldiers who then fired several shots at him”. Forensic pathologist Richard Shepherd reviewed the postmortem examination scene photographs and statements from four of the six soldiers prescent. He said he did “not believe Colm McGirr would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” and “no shots had struck Brian Campbell from the front”. In his report, which the families have received, he concluded that because Mr McGirr was right handed, he did “not believe he would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” if he was holding a weapon. “In my opinion therefore it is more likely that [Mr McGirr] received shots to his right side and back as he was facing into or towards the bush,” he said. The SAS also claimed one of the squad, known as Soldier A, then fired towards Brian Campbell who was holding an armalite rifle and had also turned and was facing them” However, Dr Shepherd concluded that “no shots had struck Brian Campbell form the front”. “I cannot exclude the possibility that the injury to the left upper back was inflicted as he lay on the ground,” he said, without ruling out the soldiers’ version of events in both cases. The IRA men’s families have now called for a fresh inquest into their deaths/murders. Solicitor Padraig O Muirigh, acting on behalf of the relatives said they would also take legal action against the British government.

“This report raises serious concerns in relation to the original soldiers’ statements,” he said. “In light of the disclosure of the Dr Shepherd’s report the families have made an application to the attorney general to direct a fresh inquest into the deaths/murders of Colm McGirr and Brian Campbell. “They will also be issuing civil proceedings against the minister of defence in relation to the unlawful actions of the soldiers.” Colm McGirr’s brother Brian (58), from Coalisland, claimed the British army discovered the arms cache three days earlier on December 1, but the weapons were not removed or disabeled. “We have no doubt that a carefully planned ambush was set by undercover British security forces that evening,” he said. “Through the 30 years that have passed we have sought the truth of what happened. We were led to bbelieve that the PSNI’s/RUC’s Historical Enquiries Team would make every effort to achieve the truth. “As part of this, a second pathologist has confirmed that the shootings could not have happened as described by security forces. Both men, Colm and Brian, were shot in cold blood in the back.” Mr McGirr said the families have been informed that the HSE investigation “is at an end and will proceed no further”. “We lived with a charade of an inquest in early years with no evidence of any sort offered as to what occurred. The McGirr and Campbell families will continue to demand that a new inquest is held to fully investigate all that occourred on that evening.” Reacting to the findings on Monday nnight, Dungannon Independent Republican councillor Barry Monteith said he was “not surprised” by the pathologist’s review and accused the British government of operating a ‘shot-to-kill policy in the North of Ireland. However, Dungannon DUP councillor Samuel Brush said he had no confidence in the HET. “There are dozens and dozens of murders around this area in South Tyrone that have not been looked at,” he said. “It baffles me that these things didn’t ccome to light then and can be turned up. “All we can do is work on reports as they come but is this report any better or any worse than the previous ones?”

With many thanks toto: The Irish News.

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