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British expression of regret on murder of Aidan McAnespie "highlights years of lies" - Ó Caoláin

27 July, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Commenting on the expression of regret by British Secretary of State Shaun Woodward and the British Defence Minister on the shooting dead by the British Army of Aidan McAnespie at Aughnacloy in 1988, Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called for the publication of the special Garda enquiry into the murder and said: 

"This British expression of regret comes very late in the day and it causes further insult by asserting again that Aidan McAnespie was killed by a ricochet, a self-serving claim that has no credibility. The statement highlights the years of lies from the British government, the British Army and the RUC about the murder of Aidan McAnespie. 

"Aidan's murder by a British soldier was compounded by the lies that were told 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 was exposed by the Historical Enquiries Team report last year. The McAnespie family and the community were vindicated.

"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. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform should now publish that report. 

"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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