PFC Statement | 23 February 2012
Some time ago we were approached by Billy Gallagher, father of 9 year old Gordon Gallagher who was killed in an IRA landmine attack in Creggan on February 25 1973. The landmine had been intended for the British Army. Billy Gallagher provided us with a copy of the HET report into the horrific death of his son. We discussed the findings of the report with the HET. We were strongly of the view that a response was required from republicans.
As a result we engaged with independent third parties with a view to establishing the truth of what happened. This is a sensitive process and we hoped to come to a conclusion in time for the anniversary this coming Saturday. Following the appeal from the parents of Gordon in the local media the following statement was provided to us. We welcome the fact that this statement clarifies that ‘Republicans fully accept their responsibility for the death of Gordon and apologise to the parents and family of Gordon Gallagher for the pain and grief caused.”
The statement that was provided to the PFC reads as follows,
According to Republican sources the actual circumstances were as follows;
On the night before Gordon was killed IRA personnel were in the process of planning an elaborate plan of attack on a British Army foot patrol whose incursions into the area had been monitored over a period of time. The operation was planned to happen in the hours of darkness to avoid civilian casualties. During the process of planting the devices one was accidentally triggered. This resulted in the IRA having to withdraw because of the presence of the British Army foot patrol and the IRA assumed that the operation was at this point compromised and therefore should be aborted.
Because of the potential danger to the community the IRA made the decision to notify the RUC/British Army through an anonymous phone call – this clearly indicated the location at the rear gardens behind Melmore/Leenan gardens.
Following the phone call the immediate district was then saturated by British troops. The IRA, believing that the British Army had discovered the device during the course of their search, withdrew from the area believing the British army would have cleared the area and rendered the device safe.
The IRA felt that if they had moved back to retrieve the device given that the British Army now heavily saturated the area they would be captured or shot.
The following morning young Gordon went out to play in his garden and accidentally triggered the explosive device.
Republicans fully accept their responsibility for the death of Gordon and apologise to the parents and family of Gordon Gallagher for the pain and grief caused.
Republicans remain truly remorseful and profoundly sorry for the circumstances that led to Gordon’s death.