IRA Threatens Reprisals Against Civilians Working for British Army
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ The IRA on Friday threatened more reprisals against civilians working for the British military after turning a Defense Ministry handyman into a ″human bomb″ this week.
Police identified the man as Patrick Gillespie, 42. He was killed Wednesday when IRA gunmen forced him to drive a 1,000-pound bomb into a military checkpoint near Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s second city.
Five soldiers also died in the blast and a sixth soldier was killed in a simultaneous bombing at Newry, 100 miles southeast of Londonderry. A bomb failed to explode in a third attack.
In all three attacks Roman Catholic men who worked for the British security forces were tied up inside bomb-laden vehicles and ordered to drive into the checkpoints.
″Those involved in such work should desist or be prepared to suffer the consequences,″ the outlawed Irish Republican Army said in a statement. It was sent to the Belfast office of the British domestic news agency, Press Association.
The family of John McEvoy, the ″human bomb″ in the Newry attack, said Friday they were cutting all contact with security forces. McEvoy survived the bombing but suffered a broken leg.
McEvoy’s family owned a gasoline station outside Newry which served security forces. ″No service will be provided for troops or police at the service station,″ the family said in a statement without making further comment.
The mainly Catholic IRA is fighting to end British rule and unite this Protestant-dominated province with the Republic of Ireland under a leftist administration. The IRA is banned on both sides of the border.
Gunmen killed a member of the political wing of the IRA who was visiting friends Friday near Cookstown, 30 miles west of Belfast, police said. Sinn Fein, the political arm of the IRA, blamed Protestant guerrillas for the death of the man, identified as Tommy Casey, a house painter.
Earlier, two other victims of the spate of killings this week were buried in separate funerals. They were a Protestant taxi driver, William Aiken, who was shot by the IRA, and a Catholic taxi driver, Frank Hughes, who was killed by Protestant gunmen in retaliation.
Three IRA suspects appeared in court in Belfast charged with the murder last weekend of a former member of the locally recruited army, the Ulster Defense Regiment, who was ambushed in his car.
They were ordered held in jail until another court appearance on Nov. 21.
In London, six months of negotiations between Britain and the Irish Republic aimed at restoring local government to Northern Ireland ended in deadlock late Thursday.
British and Irish officials said they would try to overcome differences, but the outlook was bleak.
″We have gone as far as we can, and that is generally accepted. The situation is somber,″ Irish Foreign Minister Gerry Collins told reporters.
The officials said the main sticking point was when the Irish government should become involved in the negotiations between Northern Ireland’s Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders.
The Irish Republic wants to be involved at every stage, while the Protestants, who are the majority in Northern Ireland, envision a role for Dublin only at the last stages.