Old confidential 1993 files show state feared “travel and fall” compensation would fund IRA


Donna Maguire archive photo

Donna Maguire archive photo

State officials feared the money paid to Donna Maguire would end up in the IRA’s pockets, as she claimed she had fallen and injured herself in a cattle market.

Documents relating to the case have just been posted online for the general public by the Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN) wing of the University of Ulster.

CAIN is a sprawling website with a wealth of information on the unrest like speeches, murals and a list of the dead.

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He was threatened with cuts a few years ago, but was given a reprieve in February allowing him to continue his work – and now he has unveiled a stack of Troubles documents from 1993 and 1994 (declassified circa 2018) .

They begin with a letter from “J Murray, Permanent Secretary” which states: “In July 1985, the Department of the Environment received a claim for damages on behalf of Miss Maguire.

“She alleged that she injured both ankles when she tripped on the uneven surface of the trail outside Newry Cattle Market.

“The complaint has not been resolved because the department has so far refused to settle out of court and because Miss Maguire has spent much of the past three years in prison.

“She was acquitted in Dublin of possession of explosives charges in 1990, acquitted in the Netherlands of murder charges the following year and now faces a murder charge in Germany.”

He goes on to say that the claim at the time was worth £ 7,500.

Maguire had wanted a team to fly to Germany to hear the details of her travel request, and the document adds that, since she was entitled to legal aid, “the potentially high costs don’t deter her; even if the ministry wins, it will still be responsible for its own costs ”.

He adds that “the odds are probably in favor of his victory”, despite doubts about the veracity of his claim.

DJ Watkins’ written response from the Northern Ireland office said that although she had not at that time been convicted of terrorism, “given Miss Maguire’s highly suspected links, there is a fairly obvious risk that she earns a large sum of money which could go to support terrorism ”.

He set out his reasons for taking the case to court, warning against adverse publicity if the government bowed in the face of what many would consider “a spurious prima facie terrorist allegation” – but said said that ultimately it was up to politicians to make a decision. decision.

In 1995, Maguire was convicted of attempted murder in connection with the IRA bombing in Germany.

She also received £ 13,500 for her fall.

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