A Sinn Fein assembly member has said that comments by former Ulster Unionist Ken Maginnis during a TV documentary on Margaret Thatcher confirm the British government has operated a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy in the North.
West Tyrone Assembly member Declan McAleer said remarks made by Ken Maginnis showed the British government was “responsible for targeting and executing people”.
Martin Harte, his brother Gerard and brother-in-law Brian Mullin, all in their twenties, were shot dead at Cloughfin in Drumnakilly, County Tyrone, during an SAS ambush in August 1988.
Now a peer, ‘Lord’ Maginnis told the RTE film crew that IRA members were killed in an SAS ambush shortly after he gave their names to Thatcher.
The former UUP negotiator said Ms Thatcher had asked him who he thought was responsible for an IRA action, so he gave her names of people he suspected of being involved.
“Subsequently, believe it or not, there was an SAS operation when the same team.. were ambushed and that was the end of that particular team,” Lord Maginnis said in the programme, broadcast on Tuesday.
The killings took place at a time of increased British intelligence on IRA activity and less than six months after a previous SAS ambush saw three other IRA members, Sean Savage, Mairead Farrell and Danny McCann, shot dead at point blank range on the island of Gibraltar.
Mr McAleer said Maginnis’s comments confirmed that there was a shoot-to-kill policy sanctioned by the highest level of the British government.
“It confirms what republicans have been saying for years, that those at the highest levels of the British government were involved in targeting and assassinating republicans, solicitors and anyone else who challenged their remit in Ireland,” he said.