Northern Ireland news

RUC officer 'threatened to shoot man in front of his two young children'

Fergal Caraher was shot dead at a British army checkpoint in Cullyhanna, south Armagh, in 1990

AN RUC officer threatened to shoot a man dead in front of his young children while a UDR soldier taunted a man about a fatal UVF attack and made a vile sectarian slur, declassified files show.

The files from a meeting of the Committee of the Security Forces and the Community (CSFC) in Belfast in March 1991 contain complaints logged against the RUC and UDR through civil representatives appointed to liaise between the security forces and the community.

One man said an RUC officer threatened to shoot him after his car was stopped by an RUC unit near Maghery, Co Armagh, on February 19, 1991.

As one of the RUC men pointed his gun into the car, one of the man’s two young children asked: "Daddy, are they going to shoot you?"

The RUC officer put his head into the car and said: "I am going to shoot your f***ing daddy dead if I get him up this road some dark night".

Another complainant from Blackwatertown, Co Armagh, said a UDR patrol told him they were going to "tear his car apart".

As the soldiers were searching his car, one said: "You’re going to get what your four mates got in Cappagh the other night (a reference to the UVF killing of four Catholic men in 1991)", adding "I love blood sports".

Another soldier said: "Does your car always smell like this or is it because a Fenian has just got out of it?"

The man complained to an RUC officer but the officer laughed and said: "These men are here to protect you".

The meeting heard that behaviour of some Royal Marines following the fatal shooting of Fergal Caraher in south Armagh "left something to be desired".

Mr Caraher (31), a member of Sinn Féin, was shot dead by the Marines in disputed circumstances in Cullyhanna on December 30, 1990.

His brother Micheal was injured when soldiers at a checkpoint fired 20 shots at the car, saying they believed it was dragging off another marine.

The files show that civil representatives were unhappy at the behaviour of some soldiers after the shooting.

The committee's chairman, Peter Bell from the Northern Ireland Office wrote that "anecdotal evidence" from representatives showed "the behaviour of some Marines following the Cullyhanna shootings left something to be desired".

The fatal shooting had further damaged already poor relationships between the security forces and the community in south Armagh, the meeting heard.

Civil representative Derek Woods said the shooting had cast a cloud over the nationalist community.

He also reported on a meeting with Fr Denis Faul about the UVF murder of four Catholic men at Boyle's pub in Cappagh, Co Tyrone. IRA men John Quinn (23), Dwayne O'Donnell (17) and Malcolm Nugent (20) and civilian Thomas Armstrong (50) were killed in the attack.

Fr Faul said that there had been collusion between the gunmen and the UDR and called for a withdrawal of the regiment.

Among other declassified files released today are:

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