Belfast Telegraph

BBC's Peter Taylor accused of 'trivialising' attacks on civilians by IRA

By Victoria Leonard

A victim of the Enniskillen bomb has accused a BBC journalist of attempting to "trivialise" the IRA's activities during the Troubles, after he stated that "by and large the IRA tactic was not to deliberately kill civilians".

Veteran BBC reporter Peter Taylor, who has reported extensively on the Troubles, made the comments on Saturday's BBC breakfast programme.

Mr Taylor stated: "They killed many civilians, let's not underestimate that, but by and large the IRA tactic was not to deliberately kill civilians - although many civilians, I hasten to add, were killed by the IRA."

His words were condemned by Enniskillen bombing survivor Stephen Gault, whose father Samuel was killed in the Remembrance Day atrocity 30 years ago.

"This is trivialising the impact of what the IRA did," said Stephen, who as an 18-year-old was injured in the blast.

"Peter Taylor did a documentary on the 20th anniversary of the Enniskillen bombing, which I took part in, and in that he said that civilians were the targets.

"To me this represents a total turnaround, and I would take offence and insult at it.

"On the same day that the Enniskillen bomb went off the IRA had also planted a bomb at Tullyhommon, which had it gone off would have targeted schoolkids."

Mr Gault said he was concerned that Mr Taylor's words were "sanitising what the IRA did for 40 years.

Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United said the comments "misrepresent the nature of the IRA's campaign of terror and violence".

He said: "Peter Taylor is a respected broadcaster across the world and is regarded highly, but he has on occasion demonstrated a level of naivety in terms of the motivations and modus operandi of the IRA's campaign.

"His latest comments have caused concern amongst many; effectively he is suggesting that PIRA's strategy was about targeting military targets/the British State.

"The reality was very different - Kingsmill, Tullyvallen and the ethnic genocide practised along our borderlands are amongst the sectarian motivated crimes perpetrated by the PIRA terrorist organisation.

"IVU calls on Mr Taylor to clarify his comments and apologise to those victims and survivors of IRA terrorism who have been hurt at the distorted truth he has presented."

The BBC said: "Peter is a highly regarded journalist who was talking about a documentary on his 50-year career reporting terrorism.

"During the interview he made it very clear that many civilians were victims of the IRA."

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