IRA apologises for death of civilian
The Provisional IRA has apologised to the family of a Catholic man killed in a bomb blast almost 32 years ago. Eugene McQuaid was fatally injured on the main Belfast to Dublin road on October 1974, close to a Crown force checkpoint.
It was reported at the time that a mortar bomb on his motorcycle had exploded.
In a statement, the IRA has said it carried out an operation on that day targeting the British army.
“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.”
In its statement, 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 family has welcomed the statement.
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 said.
“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.”