Family Seeks Answers from Ahern

TAOISEACH (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern has been urged to release a Garda (police) report into the British Army killing of an unarmed Tyrone GAA fan which has been kept secret for two decades.It is 20 years since 24-year-old Aidan McAnespie was shot dead by a soldier at a border checkpoint at Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone.The victim, who was not a member of any paramilitary organization, had been walking to a local GAA match when he was shot in the back from 300 meters.The soldier who fired the fatal shot claimed his hands had been wet and had slipped onto the trigger of a sub-machine gun. The soldier was fined for negligent discharge of a weapon.McAnespie had repeatedly complained of death threats from soldiers.As witnesses to the killing were reluctant to give evidence to the RUC, the Irish government appointed Garda Deputy Commis-sioner Eugene Crowley to investigate the shooting.However, the McAnespie family have been prevented from studying the contents of the report for the last 20 years as the Irish government claimed giving them access would be a breach of data protection laws."It's 20 years since Aidan was shot dead yet the Irish government still refuses to say what's contained in this report," his father John said."It's been locked in some drawer gathering dust in the Department of Justice for two decades and never seen the light of day. We know no one is ever going to jail but we want to know why he was killed and we want the British government to admit there was a cover-up."Even 20 years on Bertie Ahern can give two elderly parents some small piece of mind by allowing us to see this report."A tearful Elizabeth McAnespie recalled how her youngest child had been subjected to repeated death threats at the checkpoint."They would hold him there for hours, pretending to search the car,'' she said."He ended up having to park the car on the northern side and walking through the checkpoint just so he could get to work on time."Every evening he'd phone me when he was leaving work and I'd cycle down to the checkpoint and walk through with him just so they couldn't threaten him.""The first I knew something was wrong was when one of my daughters said to come home quick, that Aidan had had an accident. It was only when I got home that the family told me the soldiers had shot Aidan dead."Catholic Primate Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich and GAA Chairman Dr. Mick Loftus condemned the killing as murder. Amnesty International called for a public inquiry.The soldier who fired the fatal shot was never called to give evidence at the inquest.A GAA team in Boston was named in memory of Aidan McAnespie.Elizabeth McAnespie said she prays every day that the family will find justice."Even after all this time we still cling to the hope that one of those soldiers or policemen involved in the case will do the right thing and tell us what really happened," she said."As a mother I'm appealing to Bertie Ahern to give us this small bit of hope by telling us what's contained in this report."An Irish government spokesman said the taoiseach would now consider the McAnespies' appeal.

COMMENTS

Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:


Already have an account ?

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.


Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: