Statement on Gordon Gallagher

A statement was released to the Pat Finucane centre in Derry today [Friday] regarding the tragic death of Gordon Gallagher in 1973, in which the IRA accepted responsibility for the schoolboy’s death. The statement was issued to the news media in response to a request by the Gallagher family for further information on the IRA’s role in the tragedy.

The statement reads: “On the night before Gordon was killed, IRA personnel were in the process of planning an elaborate plan of attack on a British Army foot patrol whose incursions into the area had been monitored over a period of time.

“The operation was planned to happen in the hours of darkness to avoid civilian casualties. During the process of planting the devices, one was accidentally triggered. This resulted in the IRA having to withdraw because of the presence of the British Army foot patrol and the IRA assumed that the operation was at this point compromised and, therefore, should be aborted.

“Because of the potential danger to the community, the IRA made the decision to notify the RUC/British Army through an anonymous phone call – this clearly indicated the location at the rear gardens behind Melmore/Leenan Gardens.

“Following the phone call, the immediate district was then saturated by British troops. The IRA, believing that the British Army had discovered the device during the course of their search, withdrew from the area believing the British Army would have cleared the area and rendered the device safe.

“The IRA felt that if they had moved back to retrieve the device given that the British Army now heavily saturated the area they would be captured or shot. The following morning young Gordon went out to play in his garden and accidentally triggered the explosive device.”

The statement added: “Republicans fully accept their responsibility for the death of Gordon and apologise to the parents and family of Gordon Gallagher for the pain and grief caused.

“Republicans remain truly remorseful and profoundly sorry for the circumstances that led to Gordon’s death.”

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© 2012 Irish Republican News