14 April 2006

IRA says sorry for killing man

Daily Ireland

“The IRA offers its sincere apologies to the McQuaid family for the death of Eugene and for the heartache and trauma that our actions have caused.” - Newry man died in botched bomb attack 30 years ago

by Ciarán Barnes

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThe IRA has apologised for killing a Newry man in an explosion near the border three decades ago. (Click photo to view)

In a statement released to Daily Ireland, the IRA said Eugene McQuaid was not a member of the organisation, and had not been on an IRA operation at the time of his death.
Mr McQuaid’s family last night welcomed the statement.
The father of three died following an explosion in October 1974 on the Belfast to Dublin road, near the Killeen security checkpoint in Co Armagh.
At the time, it was reported the 35-year-old had been carrying mortar bombs on a motorcycle and that one had accidentally exploded, killing him. The security services claimed the weapons were in transit for use in a future attack.
The McQuaid family rejected these suggestions, saying it was unlikely that a potential bomber would carry rockets past a customs post on a main road where there was also a British army checkpoint.
In the days after Mr McQuaid’s death, the British army raided his former home. They found nothing incriminating and admitted that the father of three had never came under suspicion before.
In its statement yesterday, the IRA said it had been asked to carry out an investigation by the McQuaid family into Eugene’s death.
The statement said: “Our investigation has found that an IRA operation was in place on the day aimed at a British army patrol that was known to travel that particular stretch of road regularly. Eugene McQuaid was killed when an explosive device, intended for the patrol, was detonated prematurely. Eugene McQuaid was not a member of the IRA. He was not involved in the IRA operation.”
The IRA admitted that at the time of Mr McQuaid’s death it did not acknowledge its involvement in the incident.
The statement added: “The IRA offers its sincere apologies to the McQuaid family for the death of Eugene and for the heartache and trauma that our actions have caused.”
Mr McQuaid’s son-in-law, Ciaran Tumilty, said the family were satisfied with the statement. “For years the security services have attempted to blacken Eugene’s name, saying he was a paramilitary and was involved in a bombing operation,” Mr Tumilty told Daily Ireland.
“This was clearly never the case and the family welcomes the IRA investigation and statement. Those making the false allegations against Eugene never had any evidence to support their claims because none existed. He was never a member of a paramilitary organisation, he was a good, family man.”


The IRA last night insisted that it remained committed to the peace process.
In its annual Easter message, the IRA said its volunteers had adhered to the decision last July by the organisation to end its military campaign.
The Easter statement commended the discipline of IRA volunteers.
It added: “The IRA has no responsibility for the tiny number of former republicans who have embraced criminal activity. They do so for self gain. We repudiate this activity and denounce those involved.”
The IRA said the decisions and actions of last year proved it was committed to the peace process.
“The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann believes that it is possible to achieve the republican goal of a united Ireland through the alternative route of purely peaceful and democratic means.
“We know that many republicans are frustrated and angry at the positions taken up by the two governments over the last year. However, in our view, the will of the people is to see advances in the political process.
“The onus is on the two governments and the political parties to ensure that this happens.
“The Irish government in particular has a duty to see beyond the current phase of the process. Its responsibility is to promote an end to partition and to create the conditions for the unity and independence of Ireland.”

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