Belfast Telegraph

PSNI called on to probe IRA man’s book claim he bombed RUC vehicle

By Staff Reporter

The PSNI have been called on to investigate damning claims by a former IRA member about his role in an attack on RUC officers.

Michael Ryan, who took part in the IRA's border campaign between 1956 and 1962, makes shocking revelations in a book set to be published this week.

The 81-year-old reveals his central role in detonating a landmine which seriously injured two RUC officers in a vehicle.

The Sunday Business Post reported that Ryan's memoir details his time in the IRA and the ill-fated border campaign.

"The jeep was hit all right, because I could see some parts of it fly into the air and land a few yards away," Ryan wrote.

"We were showered with clay and debris. The three of us immediately opened fire on the jeep."

Ryan, who lives in Dundalk, could face legal action over the claims in his book 'My Life in the IRA' about the 1959 attack in Ballsmill, outside Newry.

Two RUC officers - Constable William Johnston (28) and Special Constable Trevor Boyle (21), who was in the reserve police force known as the 'B' Specials - suffered serious injuries.

Ryan also wrote that after escaping across the border, he was disappointed that the operation had not been as successful as he had hoped.

The book's revelations have prompted calls for a police investigation. DUP MLA William Irwin said Ryan should be brought before the courts.

The Newry MLA said: "This was clearly attempted murder and anyone responsible for that needs to be brought before the courts.

"I think it's important that those responsible for acts are held accountable.

"He seems to suggest that he's sorry someone wasn't killed. I think it's an indictment of this man and I believe he needs to be arrested and questioned about these offences.

"He's admitting to crimes that are very serious and admitting to the fact that he's sorry it didn't have a different outcome and he wasn't successful with his murder bid.

"Those officers suffered serious injuries which they had to live with for the rest of their lives.

"If this particular man can boast about this in a book, then it's vital he's questioned and I would call on the PSNI to investigate these remarks."

The book is the first account by an IRA member who was active during the border campaign.

Ryan was interned for a year in the Curragh camp in Kildare in 1958 and was also jailed for three months in 1961.

He further claimed that he was told a consignment of bazookas and rockets were being sent by Irish supporters in the USA. But when they arrived, they were duds.

"Of the many low points in the campaign thus far, this was the lowest," he said.

Ryan later worked as an insurance salesman with New Ireland Assurance and sided with the Official IRA when it spilt with the Provisional wing in 1969.

The book, edited by former Irish Times journalist Padraig Yeates, will be launched by Mercier Press in Dublin on Thursday.

In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray said: "As the book is yet to be published, it is not possible for us to make a comment at this time.

"However, the PSNI will consider a response once we have had the opportunity to consider the book's contents."

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