Belfast Telegraph

Police to review Nolan Show after IRA man says he 'wished he'd killed more people'

Bloody Sunday in 1972
Bloody Sunday in 1972
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Police are to review the contents of an episode of BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show after a former IRA man said that he wished he had killed more British soldiers.

A man calling himself 'Eamonn' contacted the show from Londonderry to explain why he joined the IRA in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday.

Asked by host Stephen Nolan if he wished he'd killed more people Eamonn answered "correct", but declined to say if he'd killed anybody himself.

"Correct and we couldn't do enough. Killing and getting rid of the British establishment out of my country," he said.

Following the broadcast on Thursday morning a PSNI spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph that they were "aware of comments made on a radio programme this morning and will review the contents to establish if any offences have been disclosed or committed".

Following Eamonn's comments TUV leader Jim Allister said that police must "bring him to justice".

The discussion comes after veteran journalist Peter Taylor said in a BBC documentary he would probably have joined the IRA if he'd been a teenager in Derry on Bloody Sunday.   

Anne Travers, whose sister Mary Travers was murdered by the IRA, was among those to condemn Mr Taylor's comments.

"So wrong. There was never any justification for violence. There is only one Irish army and the IRA aren't it. Many didn't join the IRA and most rejected Sinn Fein until the Good Friday Agreement," Ms Travers wrote on Twitter.

"Thanks Peter for unintentionally justifying the attempted murder of my parents and murder of my sister."

Stephen Nolan
Stephen Nolan

The sister of murdered UUP politician and barrister Edgar Graham said that she "never contemplated taking revenge on those who murdered my brother".

UUP MLA Doug Beattie said that "everybody has a choice and is responsible for their own actions".

'Eamonn' told the Nolan Show that he was living proof of Mr Taylor's comments.

"I was 14 on Bloody Sunday when I watched my fellow Derry people getting murdered and on May 1, 1974 when I was 16 I joined the Provisional IRA," he said.

"Everything Peter Taylor said happened to me. I was at the march (Bloody Sunday), I saw the baton charge coming at us and I ran, I ran into the back of the Rossville flats and one person on my right hand side was shot and one person on my left hand side was shot. I don't know if he died or what happened but both were shot.

"That made a big, big impression on me and I know exactly where Peter Taylor was coming from."

Jim Allister
Jim Allister

Eamonn said that he started carrying out acts on behalf of the IRA immediately after joining.

"My birthday was April 30 and on May 1, 1974 I did my first operation at 16 years of age. I went out there with a gun and I hijacked a car," the now 61-year-old said.

Eamonn said it was "okay" to hijack the car as the IRA needed to "get revenge".

He said that he had grown up in a large family that had suffered as a direct result of the inequality in Northern Ireland.

"In my mind I was traumatised by what was seen and done to me, I went out do it and I didn't do enough as far as I was concerned," Eamonn said.

"I couldn't do enough, you have no idea what people like me went through."

Mr Nolan said that Eamonn had gone out to "maim and destroy".

He said that he had never been convicted of IRA membership, when it was put to him that he might be after the broadcast he said "that's okay, whatever happens, happens".

"What's the sense of coming on to your show to give my opinion for you to hand the information over to the police?" Eamonn asked.

"The only thing you have belonging to me is a phone number and whatever happens, happens.

"We were raided, battered out of our beds at all hours of the morning, even before I joined the IRA. We were raided twice a day at times and this went on for years. I saw my mother getting hit with batons, saw my father getting hit with batons and you're asking me why I'm bitter.

Mr Nolan said that wishing you'd killed more people was "disgusting".

Eamonn replied: "What's disgusting is what I've seen on Bloody Sunday, what was imprinted on a 14-year-old child is disgusting."

He said that the "circumstances I was put through are the reason why I'm bitter".

Eamonn also said that he was planning a campaign to stop the Clyde Valley Flute Band from marching into the cityside of Derry after they wore Parachute Regiment emblems during the annual Apprentice Boys march last weekend.

After the broadcast TUV leader Mr Allister said that Eamonn had attempted to "rewrite history".

“The narrative that the British Army’s actions spawned and justified the Provisional IRA is straight out of the Provo manual. No one was forced to be a terrorist," the North Antrim MLA said.

"Eamonn, if that is his real name, choose to be a terrorist. If he murdered, he choose to murder – consciously and deliberately. His affirmation that the unionist population should be driven out fits with that warped terrorist mindset.

“Having boasted on air of his terrorist exploits (though the full extent of some was not explored), it now behoves the PSNI to bring him to justice and, equally, it behoves the BBC’s Nolan Show to not withhold the information it clearly holds as to the identity of this terrorist. I trust there will be no equivocation from either quarter.”

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