The families of three IRA Volunteers shot dead by the British Army’s SAS in County Tyrone in 1988 are taking legal action against former Ulster Unionist Ken Maginnis, the British government and the police chief constable.
Brothers Gerard and Martin Harte died along with Brian Mullin when the SAS fired on them near Drumnakilly.
The families have pointed to a recent television documentary as confirmation that a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy of targeted assassinations was being operated at that time.
Maginnis, a former soldier of Ulster Defence Regiment, was among those interviewed for the programme. He stated that he had identified the Volunteers directly to the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and that the people he named ended up dead just over a week later. He told the programme he was pleased with the killings.
“Of course I felt, thank God that’s the end of those fellows, they will not be killing any more of my soldiers. And that’s war,” he said.
The families’ lawyer Peter Corrigan said “This is clearly a case where the state at the highest level has ordered a shoot-to-kill policy against our clients and we are taking a civil action. It’s clear from the programme that the authorities have usurped the judicial process.
“Names were provided, no evidence was adduced, there was no trial process, there was no charging and men were executed by the state on the authority of the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.”
Ignatius Harte, a brother of two of the IRA men shot dead at Drumnakilly, said his brothers had been lured into an ambush.
“It’s evident from what Ken Maginnis had to say that the orders came from Thatcher herself that Gerard, Martin and Brian had to be taken out at whatever cost.”