Files show authorities lied about Michael Leonard death

ARCHIVES uncovered by a victims’ charity have revealed the British authorities lied to the Irish government regarding information about the killing of local man Michael Leonard.

The 24-year-old Pettigo man was shot in the back and killed by the RUC while crossing the border at Brookhill, Letter, Fermanagh in May, 1973. His family, including his cousin Fr Joe McVeigh, pictured below, have been campaigning for truth regarding his death, with the assistance of the Belfast-based Paper Trail charity.

New documents retrieved by Paper Trail from Irish government files show the British authorities “lied, denied, and delayed Irish officials seeking basic information” into Mr Leonard’s killing, shutting down diplomatic channels, the charity has stated.


This included providing then Irish government minister Garrett Fitzgerald with a written statement the RUC had only fired at Mr Leonard’s car once as it fled.

“We now know that these are RUC lies,” said a spokesman for the charity.

“Previous Paper Trail discoveries in London archives proved that the RUC fired multiple shots at the unarmed civilian, chased him in their vehicle, and then deliberately shot him as he neared the sanctuary of the Irish Republic and his home in Pettigo, Donegal.

“The British files also proved that RUC Headquarters and the General Officer Commanding the British Army in Northern Ireland knew the true circumstances of the unlawful killing of the Irish citizen.

“Nevertheless, the British armed forces lied to the family, the public, the Coroner at the original inquest, and the Irish government.”

Fr McVeigh, who is part of the ‘Time for Truth’ campaign being led by Mr Leonard’s family which has called for a fresh inquest to be opened into his death, said more should have been done at the time to investigate the killing.

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