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21 August 1997 Edition

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Back issue: IRA let Fenn go

The IRA has made it clear it chose not to execute Mr Nicholas Fenn, the British Ambassador in Ireland despite being in possession of a confidential Garda document detailing his movements.

On Thursday, 13 August, RTE's Today Tonight programme intended carrying a detailed report about the IRA having the Garda requisition order at east two days before the Ambassador's arrival at Sneem in County Kerry.

An IRA Volunteer had been authorised to show the document to an RTE journalist prior to Fenn going on holiday. It is clear from an IRA statement issued this week that the document was released because it was not intended to use the information. It is also clear that in releasing the confidential order the IRA is also making a political point, repudiating its purposed threat to the stability of the 26 Counties. The statement said:

``The Irish Republican Army refutes the statement issued by Garda Headquarters regarding the confidential garda requisition order.

``Firstly, we had the document in our possession prior to the British Ambassador's arrival in County Kerry on 9 August.

``Secondly, the notification of his movements - including his eventual destination and assumed date of return - was of crucial value had we chosen to strike. We wish to make it clear that we decided not to use the information for a military operation.

``Furthermore, the Dublin government knows full well the reluctance of the Irish Republican Army to engage in any activity in the 26 Counties which allows it to present the IRA in the public perception as a threat to the state.

``Signed P. O'Neill,
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau.''

An Phoblacht, 20 August 1987

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1