The murder of Donegal civilian, Michael Leonard, by RUC in 1973 is to be raised in the Seanad.
An important Commencement Matter regarding the murder of Donegal civilian, Michael Leonard, by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) on 17th May 1973 will be discussed in Seanad Éireann today (2nd October 2019) as the family fight for a new inquest in the North of Ireland.
Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill (Independent, Donegal South) has raised the Commencement Matter:
“To call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs [Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD] to urgently demand the British Government to:
(1) Execute a fresh and transparent inquiry, at which the new evidence in the British Ministry of Defence records can be considered in respect to any finding regarding the killing of Michael Leonard, on 17th May, 1973;
(2) Undertake an immediate criminal investigation, which would be overseen by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland, into the actions of the personnel travelling in the Police Lan Rover from which the shots directed at Michael Leonard’s car were fired; and,
(3) To further ensure that the British government fully co-operate with this fresh investigation, including making discovery of all relevant Police and Military records relating to the killing of Mr. Leonard, an Irish citizen from Pettigo, Co. Donegal”
As reported in the Irish News, the Attorney General in the North of Ireland, John Larkin, has said that the killing was not justified but has referred it to the Director of Public Prosecutions to review whether police should be prosecuted before considering a new inquest.
The original Inquest in 1973 returned a verdict of misadventure after the police claimed that a gun fired accidentally and killed Michael. Nevertheless, secret British Military documents uncovered by the charity, Paper Trail, recorded that the police chased after Michael’s vehicle in a Land Rover and fired three deliberate shots at him because he did not stop:
“He drove off in his car and the police fired 2 shots at the car which did not stop. They gave chase in a Land Rover and fired another shot which hit him.”
The final bullet fatally wounded Michael Leonard a few hundred metres short of the border between Counties Fermanagh and Donegal where Michael lived.
Fr. Joe McVeigh, a cousin of Michael Leonard, published a booklet with the new evidence found by Paper Trail on the 46th anniversary of the murder this year. He said:
“This debate in the Oireachtas is an important milestone for our family’s campaign for truth and justice for Michael. Michael was an Irish citizen murdered by the RUC and then the RUC covered up its crime, lying to both the Coroner in the North of Ireland and the Irish Government in Dublin. Thanks to Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill and Councillor Michael Naughton in Donegal, it will be debated in the seat of Government. It is now incumbent upon An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney TD, to help us secure justice for Michael, a citizen of the Irish State.” /ENDS
Download The Murder of Michael Leonard booklet by Fr. Joe McVeigh
Notes for Editors
Contact Fr. Joe McVeigh +44 (0) 7754494425; email Ciarán MacAirt, Paper Trail firstname.lastname@example.org