Jim Corry: Osnabruck suspect speaks out
"Germany would be a lot better off if they tried to to sort out the Syrian refugee crisis instead of trying to get me extradited"
The former TV actor from Belfast accused of an IRA mortar attack in Europe has broken his silence over new moves to extradite him to Germany.
Sunday Life tracked Jimmy Corry to his home in Co Kerry, where he spoke frankly about his shock over the German authorities new bid to arrest and question him over an IRA attack on a British Army base in 1996.
The 46-year-old from north Belfast told Sunday Life that Germany would be better off trying to sort out its refugee crisis rather than pushing for him to be charged with a crime he denies being involved with.
“The Germans are obviously pushing for this, I can’t explain what way they’re thinking. They’ve got nearly a million refugees, it’s as if they didn’t have enough problems,” said the father-of-one.
“Ask the Germans why they want me, tell them about the peace process. I don’t think the Germans are very aware of what’s been going on here.”
But Corry - who played an RUC officer in the BBC film Precious Blood starring Amanda Burton - appears resigned to being sent to Germany.
“They want me extradited and I think that’s what’s going to happen,” he said.
Corry claims he was never involved with the IRA and has not received a so-called ‘comfort letter’ from the British authorities.
The former New Lodge man is wanted in connection with an IRA mortar attack on Osnabruck Army barracks 19 years ago.
Terrorists fired three mortar shells at the barracks petrol station from a Ford Transit van but missed their target. Nobody was killed or injured but substantial damage was caused to the base.
It was one of a number of IRA attacks on British targets in mainland Europe around that time.
Corry denies having any involvement in IRA activities and has received support from Sinn Fein as he prepares to fight his case.
He now works as a lighting technician and has lived with his wife Christine in the quiet Kerry village of Killorglin for 20 years.
He was arrested on October 9 near Killorglin after German police issued a European Arrest Warrant.
“I was driving along in the car on my way to work at nine o’clock in the morning and the Gardai pulled me in and arrested me,” he explained.
“The Gardai then came down and told my wife what had happened. Christine’s from the New Lodge and she’s been in this situation before, to put it that way.”
He added: “They then brought me to Tralee for an hour and then they spun me up to the High Court in Dublin. I was then remanded at Cloverhill Prison.”
Corry was granted bail two weeks ago and returned to Killorglin where he says he has had “nothing but support” from the locals.
It’s not the first time Corry has been arrested and faced extradition over the terror attack.
He was detained in the Republic of Ireland in November 1996 but was released by the Irish authorities as the German constitution did not allow for the extradition of Irish citizens to Germany.
Before his first arrest, Corry appeared with some of the best known TV stars in BBC and Channel 4 productions in the mid 1990s.
He played a British Army squaddie in a Channel 4 production called High Boot Benny.
And he also played an RUC officer opposite Amanda Burton and Kevin McNally in The Precious Blood, a BBC drama about a political killing in Northern Ireland.
He got his big break into the world of stage and screen when he was spotted by a director while he was painting an office where auditions were being held for a film.
Corry also appeared on the Belfast stage at the Arts Theatre playing “Derek”, a character made famous by legendary local comic James Young.
He still plays music in hotels and bars in the nearby tourist town of Killarney.
The ex-actor also told Sunday Life that he was not part of the controversial On the Runs Scheme established by the British and Irish governments in which IRA suspects were given letters saying they were not wanted in connection with any crimes.
“That never happened to me, nobody ever spoke to me about that at all. I don’t think it would have mattered to the Germans. I was never involved in politics,” he said.
“The way I look at it, it’s out of my hands, there’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to let it run its course, it’ll probably take a couple of years.
“They want me extradited and I think that’s what’s going to happen. It would be interesting if you asked the PSNI or the Ministry of Defence what their take on it is, to see if they’re pushing it.
“There are serial killers walking about Belfast, there’s worse people they could be chasing. The worst case scenario is that I go to jail but the attack was pre-Good Friday Agreement.
“Christine and I have been together since we were 15-years-old, we’re a tight family. Ordinary people is all we are.”
He added: “Life goes on, the kids still need fed and clothed.”
Roisin McAliskey, daughter of former republican Mid Ulster MP Bernadette Devlin, was also arrested in connection with the attack.
However, her extradition was also blocked, this time by UK Home Secretary Jack Straw, and she was released in 1998 on medical grounds.
The only person convicted over the attack was former soldier Michael Dickson, who had served for a time at the engineering depot at the base.
At his trial in Germany in 2002, the court was told he helped adapt the Ford Transit van from which the mortars were launched. Dickson was sentenced to six and a half years for attempted murder.
Corry insists the case has not affected him emotionally in any way and has shielded his young children from news of his arrest and possible extradition.
“My kids aren’t politically aware of anything, they’re too young. These are old things from a different time and a different world,” said Corry.
“Circumstances have changed, Belfast – for all the political carry-on at the moment, is not the same place it was. Everyone is behind the peace process.”
He added that neighbours in the secluded Kerry village have backed him.
“The locals know about it now and I’ve had nothing but support. I came down here because it was good for music, if our family wants to see us they come down here.”