Daniel McAreavey mural, Lower Falls

Shoot-To-Kill: Vol. Daniel McAreavey

British military archives discovered by the charity, Paper Trail, prove that IRA Volunteer, Daniel McAreavey, was killed in a planned ambush and not shot by an accidental British Army patrol.

Vol. Daniel McAreavey was shot and killed by the British Army in disputed circumstances in the Lower Falls area on 6th October 1972 during an IRA operation. Local witnesses say that McAreavey was wounded and then executed. The British military said that one of their units happened to be passing when they were fired upon by the gunman and then engaged him.

The secret file from the 2nd Battalion of the Anglian Regiment records that McAreavey was caught in an “area ambush” which is military parlance for multiple, connected kill zones.

A record for 6th October 1972 states:

“Area ambush in RAGLAN ST – PLEVNA ST – OSMAN ST. DANIAL MCAREAVEY shot dead and 2 gunmen wounded by SF [Security Forces]”

Daniel McAreavey killed in a British Army area ambush

Ciarán MacAirt of the charity, Paper Trail, who found the archives said:

“This is an admission by the British Army that Daniel McAreavey was caught and killed in a deliberate British military ambush. This archive completely subverts the British narrative of an accidental patrol that happened upon the scene.” 

“Not only will the family be right to demand to know why Daniel was not arrested in the circumstances, but also which British military units were involved in the ambush. These files are from the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment and yet the regiment does not claim the attack as their own. Instead they use the generic term SF or “Security Forces” which leads us to believe that another unit was involved.”

“We know from the same file that a covert and offensive British military unit supported the Royal Anglians in Lower Falls at this time and had been involved in similar ambushes during the period. That unit was the clandestine Military Reaction Force (MRF).”

Military Reaction Force under command of 2 Royal Anglian Regiment

“Furthermore, the IRA had seriously damaged the MRF’s intelligence gathering operations a few days before in its attack on the Four Square Laundry van and associated stings. The IRA killed an MRF soldier, Sapper Stuart, on 2nd October 1972, and two of its agents, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee, so we may wonder whether its operatives were out for revenge against the IRA company it blamed for the attacks.”

“The role of the MRF in the ambush is easily proved or disproved by documents the family’s solicitor will seek in court but we can be sure that the British Army’s area ambush was a deliberate plan to trap and kill its targets. There was nothing accidental in the deployment of British troops in the area at that time.”

“Unfortunately too we see on the very same document how the British Army considered the local area and its people. The British soldiers called the area of their ambush and kill ‘the Reservation’ as if this was some sick hunt and the people were animals.”

British Army area ambush in The Reservation

Legal Battle for a New Inquest

The McAreavey family are represented by two of the foremost human rights legal firms in Ireland, Ó Muirigh Solicitors and KRW Law. Pádraig Ó Muirigh of Ó Muirigh Solicitors says:

‘The McAreavey family welcome this important evidence uncovered by Paper Trail. They have always held the view that their loved one was killed unlawfully by the British Army. In recent years new witness testimony has come to light from two individuals who spoke to the deceased as he lay injured after an initial burst of fire. Their evidence supports the proposition that the deceased had died after sustaining fatal injuries in a second burst of fire as he lay injured on the ground.  

This find by Paper Trail is further evidence of a cover-up in relation to the circumstances of Mr McAreavey’s death. It is clear that there was no adequate RUC investigation at the time. The Royal Military Police took the statement from the soldiers, a derogation by the police to the military of their duty to investigate.  It is also highly unusual that there was no autopsy carried out on the deceased’s body. Moreover, the McAreavey family were not even made aware that an inquest had taken place April 1974.

The McAreavey family have previously sought a new inquest into Daniel’s death and this new evidence will be brought to the attention of the Attorney General."

Further Information

Read the Irish News report here

Pádraig Ó Muirigh can be contacted at 028 9023 0222.

Paper Trail is a charity supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), and Victims & Survivors Service. We offer advocacy support to victims and survivors of the conflict in the north of Ireland. Email Ciarán at info@papertrail.pro if we can help you or your family.

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