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‘Hooded man' Francie McGuigan tells how he thought he was going to die while being interrogated

'Hooded man' Pat Shivers died in 1985, aged 54.
Connla Young

A MEMBER of a group of ex-internees known as the Hooded Men believed he was going to die during his interrogation 45 years ago.

The 14 Catholic men say they were tortured by members of the security forces after the introduction of internment in 1971.

At an event on Tuesday held near Toomebridge, former Hooded Man Francie McGuigan revealed that he thought he was not going to survive after being taken to a former British army base in Ballykelly in Co Derry for interrogation.

“I did not believe that I was going to get out this alive,” he said.

“I was going to be taken from here and my body dumped at the side of the road, I was going to be blown and (they would say) I was planting a bomb somewhere and it went off accidentally.”

The Hooded Men claim their treatment included being forced to listen to loud static noise and being deprived of sleep, food and water, as well as having to stand in stress positions and being beaten if they fell.

Some of the men say they were thrown from helicopters, which they were told were hundreds of feet in the air but were just feet from the ground.

The series of talks have coincided with the republication of a 1974 by campaigning Catholic priest, Fr Raymond Murray, called the ‘Hooded Men: British torture in Ireland’, which gave details of their experience.

During the talk Fr Murray spoke about former 'hooded man' Pat Shivers, who was from Toome, and who died in 1985 aged just 54.

The father-of-five suffered a horrendous experience at the hands of his interrogators after being detained at his home in August 1971.

He later told Fr Murray how he was hooded, denied food and water, was beaten repeatedly and passed out during during interrogation.

In a statement given to Fr Murray at the time Mr Shivers said that at one point he imagined he had died.

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