IRA man's family condemn bombing


THE parents of the Gorey man who died when the bomb he was carrying exploded in a London bus on Sunday say they do not want any paramilitary involvement in his funeral.

It is still not known when the body of Ed O'Brien will be flown home. It is expected to be at least a week before he is buried.

The IRA confirmed last night that he gas one of its members. In a statement telephoned to RTE, the IRA said: "It is with profound regret that we confirm that the man who died on Sunday was one of our volunteers. Edward O'Brien of Gorey, Co Wexford, died while on active service. To his family and those injured by the bomb, we extend our deepest sympathy."

Mr Michael Cullen, a solicitor representing the dead man's parents, yesterday arranged to meet members of the media at Gorey Garda station.

From the steps of the station, he read a prepared statement from Myles and Margaret O'Brien, unreservedly condemning paramilitary organisations.

Their statement said Ed O'Brien had no involvement whatsoever in any illegal organisation while he lived in the family home in Gorey.

"Neither they, nor any member of their extended family have, or have ever had, any involvement of any description with any paramilitary grouping," the statement said.

It emerged yesterday that Mr O'Brien had telephoned home last Sunday at about 7 p.m., only a few hours before the London bus bomb exploded. The O'Brien family had no address for him, but he telephoned once a month on a Sunday.

He was not due to phone until this Sunday, but his family were not alarmed by his manner during that last telephone call. His parents told gardai they believed he was in Scotland.

In their statement, the O'Briens expressed their deep sorrow for those injured in the bombing and Their families. They said they had been deeply shocked by the news and did not know of their son's involvement in any illegal organisations.

It is generally believed in Gorey that the 21 year old, the eldest of a family of three, was "recruited" after he left Co Wexford almost two years ago.

"His family believe he was recruited in England," said Gorey curate, Father Walter Forde. "They are in such a state of shock. They feel shame and guilt. Ed's father, Miley, told me when I went up to the house today that he wanted to apologise to everyone. I told him that people are not blaming the family."

The first indication that Ed O'Brien was involved in the bombing came on Tuesday when Supt Pat Flynn called to the O'Brien home at Allenwood Drive before 1 p.m. and advised them to "prepare for the worst".

Last night it had still not been officially confirmed to the O'Brien family that their son had died.