BBC Northern Ireland’s recent documentary ‘14 Days’, about the events of the fortnight after the deaths of three IRA terrorists in Gibraltar in March 1988, referred to the murder of a young Fermanagh Protestant, Jillian Johnston, during that period. Her death was described glibly as “a case of mistaken identity”. One wonders what basis the author of the programme’s script had for making such an assertion.
The Provisional IRA claimed that her murder (along with the serious wounding on the same occasion of her fiance) was a case of mistaken identity - but to take the claims of republican terrorists at face value is never wise; their record of mendacity is beyond dispute.
Miss Johnston’s murder occurred months after the Remembrance Sunday bombing campaign of November 1987, the bloodiest event in the IRA sectarian campaign in Fermanagh.
A more plausible explanation of Miss Johnston’s murder is that she was shot because of her religion and for no other reason.
In the same programme the journalist Eamonn Mallie claimed that many members of the republican movement were shocked by the Enniskillen bombing. One wonders how Mr Mallie would reconcile this assertion with the fact that the IRA’s campaign of deliberate mass killing of civilians continued long after the Enniskillen bomb - witness the murders at Teebane in 1992 and on the Shankill Road in 1993.
C D C Armstrong