McGuinness willing to meet daughter of IRA murder victim

Caroline Moreland shot dead shortly before August 1994 ceasefire

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinnes: “Her death, like the death of all victims of the conflict, was an absolute tragedy”. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinnes: “Her death, like the death of all victims of the conflict, was an absolute tragedy”. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

 

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The North’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, is “more than willing” to meet Shauna Moreland, whose mother Caroline was murdered by the IRA as an alleged informer shortly before it declared its ceasefire in August 1994, a Sinn Féin spokesman has stated.

Sinn Féin issued the statement on behalf of Mr McGuinness after Shauna Moreland requested a meeting with him to discuss how and why her 34-year-old mother was shot dead by the IRA in July 1994.

Ms Moreland told BBC’s Spotlight current affairs programme on Tuesday night that she blamed the IRA and the British intelligence services, who had recruited her as an informant, for her mother’s death.

The programme by journalist Darragh McIntyre also raised questions as to whether Freddie Scappaticci, the senior republican figure and alleged British agent known as “Stakeknife”, was involved in her murder and why if this were the case his British army handlers did not act to prevent Ms Moreland’s murder and the killing of other alleged informants.

Shauna Moreland said she wanted to meet Mr McGuinness to ask him two questions: “Were you on the [IRA] army council? Did you give the order for my Mum’s death?”

In a statement to Spotlight Mr McGuinness said he was not on the IRA army council and he had no knowledge about Ms Moreland’s death. “Her death, like the death of all victims of the conflict, was an absolute tragedy,” he added.

The Sinn Féin spokesman said Mr McGuinness would be happy to meet Ms Moreland. “It is essential that there is no return to the tragedies and violence of the past and that remains Mr McGuinness’s personal and political priority. But for many families of victims of the conflict, that is not enough. They demand the truth and they deserve the truth,” added the spokesman.

“Sinn Féin will continue to work to achieve the implementation of the truth recovery mechanisms agreed at Stormont House [in the Christmas Stormont House Agreement] in an effort to provide families with maximum disclosure and information about the deaths of their loved ones,” he said.

Spotlight reported that between 1980 and 1984 the IRA killed 39 alleged informants. During all or most of this period it is alleged that Scappaticci was head of the IRA’s internal security operations, a period when he was also doubling as one of the British army’s most prized agents in the IRA. Spotlight said he was recruited by the British army’s Force Research Unit around 1977.

Spotlight recounted how Caroline Moreland, a lone parent, said she felt obliged to become an informant because those who recruited her warned her she could face 25 years in prison for IRA activity and her three children would be taken into care. It played a recording of her admitting she was an informer before the IRA shot her and dumped her body near Roslea in Co Fermanagh.

The programme also reported that the order for her killing almost certainly had to come from the IRA army council.

Ms Moreland said she wanted to know why, if her mother was an informant, the British state did not ensure efforts were made to save her.

“I want to know first and foremost, if she was an informant, why her handlers didn’t step in and protect her?” she said.

She said the IRA and British state were jointly responsible for her mother’s death. “One made the bullet and one fired it,” said Ms Moreland.

The British Ministry of Defence said in a statement that collusion in murder was never acceptable and should be investigated. The PSNI said it could not comment as the case was being investigated by the police ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire.