25 June 2005

Derry Journal

IRA Apologise For Death Of Derry Schoolgirl

By Eamonn MacDermott
Friday 24th June 2005

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A dramatic and unprecedented move, the IRA in Derry last night apologised 'unreservedly' to the family of schoolgirl Kathleen Feeney for her death in a shooting incident almost 32 years ago.

In a statement issued to the 'Derry Journal', the IRA said: "The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann wish to apologise unreservedly to the Feeney family for the death of Kathleen and for all the grief that our actions have caused to them."

The move came after the Feeney family approached the IRA seeking full disclosure of what happened to 14-year-old Kathleen and also seeking an unconditional apology.

Kathleen Feeney was shot dead on November 14, 1973, just yards from her Quarry Street home in the Brandywell. Her father, Harry, witnessed his daughter being shot as he stood in the doorway of his home.

Following the death, controversy arose over who fired the shots that struck the Derry schoolgirl. The British Army said that one of their patrols was fired upon but did not return fire while the IRA denied responsibility for the shooting and blamed the army. The IRA also claimed they killed a soldier 'in retaliation'.

However, last night the IRA issued a lengthy statement about the events surrounding the death of Kathleen Feeney in which they acknowledged that they had killed her.

The full IRA statement reads: "On 14th November 1973, 14-yearold Kathleen Feeney was shot dead in Quarry Street, Derry.

"The IRA in Derry, in a statement, denied that any of its volunteers were responsible for the death of Kathleen Feeney. In a further statement, the IRA in Derry claimed to have carried out an operation against the British Army in retaliation for the death of Kathleen Feeney.

"The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann has been asked by the Feeney family to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of their sister and to publicly acknowledge that she was killed by the IRA.

"The IRA leadership agreed to do so. We found, as the Feeney family have always believed, that Kathleen was hit by one of a number of shots fired by an IRA Active Service Unit that had fired upon a British army foot-patrol in the Lecky Road area.

"The IRA accepts responsibility for the death of Kathleen Feeney. Our failure to publicly accept responsibility for her death until now has only added to the hurt and pain of the Feeney family.

"The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann wish to apologise unreservedly to the Feeney family for the death of Kathleen and for all the grief that our actions have caused to them."

In response to the IRA statement, the Feeney family issued a brief statement which they said was their definitive response on the matter.

The Feeney family said: "In memory of our parents, Kathleen and Harry Feeney. The family of Kathleen Feeney decided to seek an unconditional apology from the Provisional IRA for the death of their sister, who was shot dead 32 years ago. Kathleen was then aged 14-yearsold. It is the family's wish that this will help bring closure."




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