Friday 23 February 2018

British considered blowing up roads around Border region

Files released by the Public Record Office Northern Ireland also show that one civil servant wrote: “Claiming compensation is an art form on both sides of the Border.”
Files released by the Public Record Office Northern Ireland also show that one civil servant wrote: “Claiming compensation is an art form on both sides of the Border.”

Michael McHugh

British officials talked about closing Border roads using explosives during the Troubles and discussed how this would be likely to lead to claims for compensation.

They were prepared to compensate those whose homes were damaged by blasts that were intended to reassert control and hamper the movement of paramilitaries in staunchly republican areas.

In one of the official British documents from 1989, a civil servant wrote: "It may well be...that the use of explosives will cause real harm and distress to the locals. It is equally arguable that so far from causing distress etc... the Protestant population in south Fermanagh, for instance, will be reassured by the use of explosives."

The discussion came after a number of Border community associations, in which Sinn Féin members participated, had reopened many roads.

But files released by the Public Record Office Northern Ireland also show that one civil servant wrote: "Claiming compensation is an art form on both sides of the Border."

Another wrote: "If my front window in Co Monaghan was blown in by the actions of the British Army, I would be off to my TD quicker than you could say 'Anglo-Irish Agreement' if I were told that I had to sue Martin McGuinness before I could get my hands on the moolah (money).

"All our experiences of house searches etc... suggest that the best way of minimising conflict with the local population is for the man with the cheque book to turn up as rapidly as possible.

"Also, to be frank, even if my solicitor told me I did have a case against Mr McGuinness, I might think twice before suing him. I am told he has devoted and persuasive friends."

Irish Independent

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