The family of a teenager murdered by the IRA at the height of the Troubles said republican claims he was a security forces' informant have finally been dismissed.
Bernard Teggert was 15, though relatives at the time said he had the mental age of a child, when he was kidnapped by the IRA in 1973.
The IRA accused Bernard, from New Barnsley in west Belfast, of being an informant and shot him.
The organisation did not admit to the killing at the time, but in October 2004 the IRA issued a statement accepting responsibility for his death. It apologised to the family for the pain and grief that it had caused and said the boy's death was wrong.
Now republican sources are said to have confirmed categorically to the family that the murdered boy was not a security forces' informant.
The dead boy's family told the republican newspaper An Phoblacht: “We know Bernard was innocent. He was not an informer. We are glad that that stigma has been removed.”
Republican sources had repeated what were described as profound regrets over the murder.
The paper reported: “Hopefully the stigma which surrounded Bernard's death will now be removed and this will help the Teggert family, who have suffered grievously as a result of the conflict.”
News reports from the time said that Bernard had seen IRA members hijacking a beer lorry and after witnessing them hold a gun to the driver's head he shouted at them to leave the man alone. A relative interviewed in 2004 said the boy had shouted: “I am going to tell on youse.”
When soldiers coincidentally arrived on the scene and captured the IRA members, it appeared that Bernard was later blamed.