DUP MP William McCrea wanted ‘Libya-type airstrikes’ against Dundalk and Drogheda

editorial image

In 1986, DUP MP William McCrea suggested “Libya-type” air strikes against areas such as Dundalk and Crossmaglen, according to a report within a file declassified today at the Public Record Office in Belfast.

The US dropped 60 tons of munitions on sites in Libya in April 1986 in retaliation for the Berlin disco bombing earlier that month in which three people were killed and more than 200 injured.

An April 1986 memo from Noel Cornick in the Political Affairs Division of the NIO reported on developments at the DUP conference, where it was noted that Ian Paisley had to work harder than normally was the case to keep the party under his control.

Members of the NIO had not been allowed to attend the conference as observers, so the report seems to have been compiled based on press reports and information from other sources.

In it, Mr McConnell said: “In a more extravagant contribution, Gregory Campbell called for ‘even the foundations of Maryfield [The Anglo-Irish Secretariat building in Belfast] to be demolished’ and the Rev William McCrea urged Libya-type strikes against Dundalk, Drogheda, Crossmaglen and Carrickmore”.

More from the declasified state papers

Peter Robinson urged US firms not to invest in Northern Ireland, says declassified file

The attitudes and nature of the DUP are frightening, said head of the Civil Service

RUC tipped off the Garda about Robinson’s ‘invasion’ of Clontibret

In 1986, Paisley believed he’d never be in another Stormont

Video: Archivist says Stormont politicians can’t block declassification of files