Belfast Telegraph

Patsy Gillespie's widow tells of pain over bomb tweet


By Donna Deeney

Comments by a controversial commentator who attempted to justify the murder of a man used as a human bomb by the IRA are disgusting, the victim's widow has said.

Kathleen Gillespie expressed her outrage after a post on social media by Jude Collins in which he said her husband Patsy had chosen to work for the security forces even though he knew this made him a target for the Provos.

Mr Gillespie (42) was tied into his van, which had been loaded with a massive bomb on October 24, 1990.

He was told to drive it to the Army checkpoint at Coshquin while members of the IRA gang held his wife and children hostage in their home.

The device was detonated, killing Mr Gillespie, a civilian worker at an Army camp, and five soldiers.

At the time the IRA said that it didn't regard Mr Gillespie as a civilian because he worked at Fort George Army base, making him "a part of the British war machine".

Mr Collins posted on his Twitter account that "like so many others from the conflict years, his death was horrible and shocking".

"However, unlike many others, Patsy chose to do work for the 'security' forces, even after the IRA had warned that made them targets," he added.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs Gillespie said the remarks were especially hurtful to hear coming so close to the anniversary of her husband's death.

She said: "I cannot comprehend why anyone who knew nothing about Patsy or me or our family would think they are in a position to make such disgusting comments. Patsy was a dedicated husband to me and a dedicated father to our children.

"He was a man who was doing the best he could to provide for his family during a time when work in Derry was practically non-existent.

"How dare Jude Collins try and justify or legitimise my husband's murder? I wonder did he think for one second about the hurt and pain his flippant remarks would cause me and my family, or did he not care whether we would read what he wrote?

"His comments are especially painful coming so close to the anniversary of Patsy's death, which is a difficult enough time for us. Perhaps Jude Collins would do better to stop and think before he passes remarks about people he knows nothing about, or perhaps he cares more about being controversial than stamping on people's feelings.

"I am comforted by the number of people who responded critically to his comments about Patsy, which shows not everyone is as callous as Mr Collins."

This is not the first time Mr Collins has been criticised by Troubles victims.

Last August he suggested on his blog that those who died in the Omagh bomb were not murdered. He made the comments on the 20th anniversary of the atrocity, which claimed the lives of 29 people, including a mother pregnant with unborn twins.

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