McGuinness call over Derry schoolboy bomb victim Gordon Gallagher
- 22 February 2012
- From the section Northern Ireland
The parents of a schoolboy killed when he triggered an IRA bomb in Londonderry in 1973 believe the deputy first minister knows who was involved.
Nine-year-old Gordon Gallagher died when the device exploded in his garden in Creggan.
Martin McGuinness was in jail at the time, but Billy and Pat Gallagher said he could help them get to the truth about what happened.
The IRA admitted to the family that a device had been left in the garden.
However, it claimed the detonator was added by soldiers.
The schoolboy was playing 'Cowboys and Indians' in the garden with his younger brother when he tripped on the bomb which had been left there.
His mother ran to help him.
Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, Mr Gallagher said he was not at home at the time of the explosion, but was nearby and heard the bomb go off.
He went to the hospital to be with Gordon, while his wife stayed at her mother's house with their other children.
"I went to phone Pat to say he was conscious," said Mr Gallagher.
"He was wheeled past me into theatre when I was on the phone.
"He died at half past five. I was talking to him, I thought he was going to be alright but they said it was the loss of blood."
Mr Gallagher said IRA members came to his home to admit leaving the bomb in his garden.
"Two boys came and lied about it at the start.
"They told me their unit put the bomb there, but no detonator, that the Army must have come back and put a detonator - it's ridiculous.
"Shock or no shock, I never believed that for a second.
"One of the men who came to tell me the lies, about two or three weeks after it, his wife arrived at my door and she apologised.
"She said: 'We're sorry about your son but these things happen in war.'
"I said: 'Sure my son wasn't at war, he was only nine years of age.'
"I chased them from my door."
A Sinn Fein spokesman said Mr McGuinness was in jail at the time and had no information about the killing.
A recent report from the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) found that the IRA was solely responsible for what happened.
The HET said it had failed to find any new leads in the case.
Now the family believes their only hope of getting to the truth is through the IRA.
Martin McGuiness was, by his own admission, second in command in the IRA at the time of Gordon's death. The family said he would know who was involved and they are appealing to him for help.
The Gallagher family said they did not want to see anyone jailed for what happened to their son.
Mr Gallagher said he forgave the man who left the bomb. What they want is the truth from the IRA not the lies they were told at the time. They want an explanation and an apology from those who were involved.
The family is also considering asking the attorney general for a new inquest which would examine what happened in more detail and could prompt new witnesses to come forward.