IRA ‘informer’ victims were listed in US court submission

A list of dozens of people killed by the IRA after it accused them of being informers has been published among declassified government files.

By Michael McHugh
Monday, 30th December 2019, 12:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 1:12 am
Those summarily killed by the IRA often had their bodies dumped publicly, such as here  were soldiers guard the scene of an IRA murder in west Belfast
Those summarily killed by the IRA often had their bodies dumped publicly, such as here were soldiers guard the scene of an IRA murder in west Belfast

One of the victims aged 21 and from Londonderry had his eyes taped closed and his hands tied behind his back.

Many were dumped near the Irish border with gunshot wounds to the head.

A number did not pass information to the state, officials said.

The government named the dead as part of a draft argument for keeping intelligence evidence secret in the face of court extradition proceedings in America.

The details form part of archives disclosed by the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.

A draft official submission said: “The Provisional IRA themselves have made it clear on a number of occasions that where they believe people within the organisation to be agents or informers they can expect no mercy.

“This usually means torture, followed by a forced confession and murder. The corpse will them be found in a ditch, often many miles from the point of abduction.”

A sample list of alleged informers killed by the Provisional IRA from 1978 until before the 1994 ceasefire was published in official files.

Among those listed were:

l In June 1978 Daniel McErlean, 25, from Rasharkin in Co Antrim was found dead. His body was discovered at the border near the Co Armagh village of Jonesborough.

l In July 1979 Michael Kearney, 20, from Belfast was found dead on the Concession Road in Clones.

l In February 1981 Patrick Trainor, 28, from Belfast was shot dead at Upton Cottages.

l The following year John Torbitt, 28, was shot dead at his Lenadoon home.

l Two months later Seamus Morgan, 24, from Dungannon in Co Tyrone was found dead in the south Armagh village of Forkhill.

l Patrick Scott from Twinbrook was found shot dead in an entry in west Belfast in 1982.

l Damien McCroy, 20, was shot in the head in the Brumrallagh Estate in Strabane in Co Tyrone.

l Patrick Murray, 30, was shot dead and his body found in an entry in west Belfast in 1986, in the shadow of Clonard monastery.

l The body of Eamon Maguire, 33, from Finglas was found on the main Dundalk to Castleblaney Road a quarter of a mile north of the border.

l Rory Finnis, 21, from Londonderry was found shot dead in June 1991. His hands had been tied behind his back and his eyes taped closed in the city’s Creggan estate.

l In June 1993 Joseph Mulhern from Belfast’s remains were discovered six days before his 24th birthday.