Gibraltar killings recalled - letter in Irish Times, 280313



Gibraltar killings recalled



A chara, – Some things seem never to change: 25 years since the Gibraltar killings and the only reference we find in The Irish Times is a preview of a London play setting out how the British establishment would prefer the shootings to be remembered. All other cultural events marking the anniversary are ignored: from a play on the life of my sister Mairead Farrell to the re-publication in e-format of the epic satirical poem on those shootings, Gib: A Modest Exposure by a Scots academic, the late Jack Mitchell.


Mark Hennessy (Weekend Review, March 23rd) uncritically presents a hackneyed thesis in the play placing the blame for the killings on IRA “doves”, who wanted the three hardliners killed. Unsettling for the British lawyer playwright no doubt is that the European Court of Human Rights didn’t see it that way. It found the British government guilty of the “unlawful killing” of the trio, who were unarmed – something your report fails to make clear. The report attempts to dilute that powerful verdict by noting the Strasbourg court did not grant “compensation” to the families – nothing could have compensated my elderly parents for the loss of their only daughter.


What should stand centre stage 25 years on, is that the IRA’s guns have fallen silent, but not the weaponry of the other protagonist, the British state. We have just marked the 10th anniversary of the US and British illegal Iraq war. More than one million innocent people have been killed. And the British state continues to wage war in foreign lands.


Sinn Féin is regularly baited in the Dáil by Enda Kenny Eamon Gilmore for IRA murders. What rank hypocrisy; their Government, like consecutive Irish coalitions, is an accomplice in the US’s imperial wars by allowing Shannon airport to be turned into a US military hub.

In one way, times have changed. Twenty-five years ago, Margaret Thatcher denied there was a shoot-to-kill policy. Today, Barack Obama does not. Every Tuesday he picks his “kill list” for the week. Mass killings by drones are good. They even transport the weaponry via Shannon.


The playwright Brendan Behan grasped the difference between terrorism and state violence, when he said: It is easy to spot the terrorist. He’s the one with the small bomb. –   Is mise,




Co Galway.