Fergal Caraher

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Fergal Caraher (12 April 1970 – 30 December 1990) was a Provisional IRA volunteer[1][2] and Sinn Féin member who was killed by British military forces during an ambush in Cullyhanna, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.[3]

Background[edit]

Fergal Caraher was born in Cullyhanna, County Armagh, Northern Ireland to a republican family. He was a member of both the Provisional IRA and Sinn Féin.

On 30 December 1990 he was killed by Royal Marines near a checkpoint in Cullyhanna. His brother Michael Caraher, who was severely wounded in the shooting, later became the shooter of one of the South Armagh sniper squads, which killed seven British soldiers and two Royal Ulster Constabulary members.[4] Michael Caraher was imprisoned in 1997, but released in 2000 under the prisoner release terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

In 1996 Fergal Caraher's sister Maria was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum in Newry and Armagh, but she did not stand in the subsequent 1998 Northern Ireland Assembly election.[5] She is currently the principal of Bunscoil an Iúir, an Irish language school in Newry.[6]

Murder trial[edit]

In 1993, two Royal Marines were charged with Caraher's murder. Both men, Lance Corporal Richard Elkington, 23, and Private Andrew Callaghan, 21, from the 45 Unit, denied the charges and were acquitted.[7]

Prosecutors outlined that Elkington smashed the driver's window with his rifle and opened fire on the car, ordering Callaghan to do likewise as the brothers attempted to drive from a pub car park. They also stated that the investigation into the shooting had been hampered as British soldiers had removed spent bullet cases instead of preserving the scene for police scenes-of-crime officers and that there was no lawful justification for firing on the car.[7]

Elkington told police he had fired nine aimed shots at the driver, believing that a third soldier was being carried away on the bonnet of the car. Callaghan stated that he fired 12 shots because he feared for the life of the third Marine, who was out of sight.

Fergal Caraher is one of 24 Provisional IRA volunteers remembered at the South Armagh Memorial Garden in Mullaghbawn, near Slieve Gullion mountain.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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