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British Army lie on murder of Aidan McAnespie exposed – Ó Caoláin

24 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that the findings of the Historical Enquiry Team (HET) on the fatal shooting of Aidan McAnespie at Aughnacloy on the Monaghan/Tyrone border in 1988 have exposed the lie told by the British Army about the killing. The HET has found that the version offered by the soldier who fired the fatal shot was the least likely explanation of what happened.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "The murder of Aidan McAnespie by a British soldier was compounded by the lies that were told by the British Army afterwards. The soldier who fired the fatal shot claimed his finger slipped onto the trigger when he was moving the General Purpose Machine Gun. This lie has been exposed by the HET report. The McAnespie family and the community have been vindicated.

"I fully support the call of the family for access to the Garda report on the killing of Aidan McAnespie. The report of Deputy Commissioner Eugene Crowley should be opened to the family.

"Such was the outrage at Aidan's death that the then Fianna Fáil government ordered a Garda inquiry. During the course of that inquiry I met with Deputy Commissioner Eugene Crowley and outlined the litany of harassment Aidan had endured. Like others who participated in that inquiry I find it totally unacceptable that the report is still being kept secret after over 20 years.

"Aidan McAnespie was killed after he had been subjected to years of harassment by the British Army and the RUC. It must be recorded that the British Army and the RUC were facilitated in their conduct towards Aidan and many others like him along the Border at the time by the attitude and actions of the forces of this State. This was because Aidan was also subject to harassment by members of the Garda Síochána, undermining any credibility the authorities in this State may have had in raising his case with the British government." ENDS

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