The Teebane massacre was a reflection of the IRA’s desperation in the early 1990s

It is 30 years today since the atrocity at Teebane, Co Tyrone.

By Editorial
Monday, 17th January 2022, 5:10 am
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 5:22 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Eight Protestant men were murdered in an IRA bomb attack on their minibus at a rural crossroads.

The massacre was marked yesterday with an open-air service. The campaigner on behalf of victims of terror, Kenny Donaldson, described the slaughter aptly, as having been motivated by “naked ethnic and sectarian hatred”.

Minority Protestant populations west of the Bann and along the southerly sections of the border are well acquainted with such hatred, and the attempt over three decades to drive them from their communities.

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A particular tragedy about the Teebane deaths is that it happened late in the long republican campaign of murder and mayhem, when terrorist leaders were getting desperate.

By the early 1990s the IRA had been significantly penetrated by the outstanding work of the security forces, and support for the paramilitary group was dwindling (having never been high).

It was a sign of republican desperation that they had to target civil servants or those, like the Teebane workmen, who supplied or worked with the military. Yet the ultimate failure of IRA violence, leading to the first ceasefire of 1994 and another in 1997, was only the beginning of a long propaganda war, which republicans are being allowed to win.

In addition to the gross distortions about collusion, which was negligible (as evident in the patent lack of good intelligence held by loyalist terrorists, so that they overwhelmingly resorted to purely sectarian killings), the deluge of money poured into anti state legacy investigations would lead any young person today to think — as Rev Clements, son of a a murdered RUC man, wrote on these pages on Saturday (see link below) — that state forces were the villains of the Troubles.

In fact republicans murdered 2,100 out of 3,600 Troubles dead, yet their legal and narrative assault on the UK state, supported by the Irish authorities, is not even verbally challenged in London, let alone met with a return legal volley.

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