Family of man shot 48 years ago still seeking answers

FR JOE McVeigh, the cousin of Michael Leonard who was shot dead by the RUC 48 years ago has said his family have “suffered for far too long” in their quest for the truth.
Fr Joe was talking to the Herald following a prayer service at the site of Michael’s killing on the border with Fermanagh and Donegal near Pettigo on the anniversary of his death on Monday.
The family together with Donegal Fianna Fáil Councillor, Michael Naughton have used the occasion of the anniversary to appeal to the Irish Government to open a new inquiry into his death.
In 2019, PSNI assistant chief constable George Clarke referred to the shooting of 24-year-old Michael Leonard by RUC officers as he crossed the border on May, 17 1973 as ‘murder’.
The PSNI later said it was ‘regrettably inaccurate’ to make this reference as his case had not been reviewed or reinvestigated by the Legacy Investigation Branch.
Michael Leonard crossed the border several times a day in his work as a Pettigo farmer. He was a disqualified driver and, on the day he was killed, police had spotted him getting into a car after leaving a shop. RUC officers in a Landrover pursued his car while one officer in the passenger seat of their vehicle was holding a rifle out of the window and later claimed the Catholic man was shot dead when his weapon accidentally discharged a shot.

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