Northern Ireland news

IRA discussed killing Kevin Myers former journalist claims

Kevin Myers, author of Burning Heresies: A Memoir of a Life in Conflict 1979-2020
Connla Young

CONTROVERSIAL journalist Kevin Myers has claimed the IRA discussed killing him on two occasions.

The former columnist makes the claim in a new book about his life.

Burning Heresies: A Memoir of a Life in Conflict 1979-2020, covers the journalist's time covering international war zones as well as his own personal battles closer to home.

His first memoir, Watching the Door: A memoir, 1971-1978, was published in 2006.

The latest contribution, his first major work since he was sacked a a columnist for the Sunday Times in 2017, deals with his time reporting from conflict zones across the globe.

It also deals with the controversy which led to his dismissal after he penned an article dealing with the gender pay gap at the BBC.

In that final column he referred to BBC presenters Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman, who are both Jewish and at the time were two of the BBCs highest paid female presenters.

In the days that followed Myers was accused of anti-Semitism - claims he denied and continues to deny.

While he has previously written about his time as a reporter in the north in the 1970s, the former columnist also returns to the subject in his new book.

Known for his strong anti-republican views, the English born author, admits that through his former Irish Times column, 'An Irish Man's Diary', he “regularly expressed an unequivocal hostility towards the IRA, and Gerry Adams".

He says he felt “no more warmly about Martin McGuinness”.

The former journalist writes about his contacts in the security agencies on both sides of the border and recalls how former IRA informer Sean O'Callaghan warned him he was a possible target for republicans.

“He broke his usual security procedures to let me know that his minders had told him that the IRA Army Council had twice discussed the advantages of killing me,” he wrote.

“They were apparently confident that the political requirements of the peace process would mean that there would be no irreversible consequences if they did.”

Mr Myers reveals that a British army officer once asked him if he had considered obtaining a firearm and offered him some advice in the event he would be attacked.

“Well, they musn't take you alive,” the soldier suggested.

“Here's a tip. The first man who takes hold of you, don't push him away, but pull him towards you.

“Then bite into his Adam's apple, hard, like a piece of steak, and then tear it out.

“This will incapacitate him, and the shock will probably paralyse his companions.”

Mr Myers replied: “Really? And what the f**k will it do to me?”

Burning Heresies: A Memoir of a Life in Conflict 1979-2020 by Kevin Myers and published by Merrion Press is available now.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Topics

Northern Ireland news