Irish minister’s tribute to UK diplomat murdered by IRA

Irish foreign minister Charles Flanagan.
 Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Irish foreign minister Charles Flanagan. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

The Irish foreign minister has attended a ceremony in Dublin to mark the 40th anniversary of the IRA murder of a British ambassador.

Christopher Ewart-Biggs was killed along with colleague Judith Cooke when a landmine exploded under their car at the ambassador’s official residence at Glencairn in July 1976.

On Monday, minister Charlie Flanagan addressed a tree-planting and memorial service at Glencairn attended by the current British ambassador Dominick Chilcott.

Members of the Ewart-Biggs family were among the guests who heard Mr Flanagan pay tribute to the late Baroness Jane Ewart-Biggs who, following her husband’s murder, “dedicated herself to improving bilateral relations between Ireland and Britain”.

He said: “Jane’s lived example of tolerance and her work as an emissary of goodwill to Ireland were the embodiment of the principles which are the foundation of the peace process - reconciliation, respect and reciprocal generosity.

“Through the establishment of the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize (for literature and scholarship) and their steadfast friendship to Ireland, the Ewart-Biggs family have turned a dreadful event for them personally into a positive legacy for this country.”

Mr Flanagan added: “The two deceased individuals that we remember today demonstrate the great sacrifices which were demanded of too many during dark days in order to bring peace to Ireland and place reconciliation and friendship at the heart of the relationship between Ireland and Britain.

“And we should also remember all those survivors who did their duty during these dark times so that we can enjoy better days – not least the late Sir Brian Cubbon and Brian O’Driscoll who were injured on that terrible day.”