IRA Says It Killed Relative Of Legislator
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ The Irish Republican Army said today it killed the cousin of a Protestant legislator, a news agency reported.
Gunmen shot and killed Derek Ferguson, 30, a Protestant builder, at Coagh 25 miles west of Belfast late Tuesday night, police said.
Ferguson’s cousin, the Rev. William McCrea, a member of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, represents mid-Ulster in the House of Commons in London.
In calls to local news organizations, the IRA said it killed Ferguson because he was a loyalist terrorist involved in sectarian attacks, Press Association, the domestic British news agency, said. Loyalists support British rule in Northern Ireland.
McCrea said Ferguson was a hard-working man ″who minded his own business and had one great goal in his young life - the building of a new home for his wife and four children.″ Police said he was killed as he sat watching television with two of his four children in his temporary trailer home parked next to a house he was renovating in County Tyrone village. The gunmen fired through a window of the trailer.
His other two children were asleep in the trailer. Police said first word of the attack was telephoned to relatives by Ferguson’s 7-year-old son, who told them: ″Bad men have shot my daddy.″
The building company for which Ferguson worked, Henry Brothers of Magherafelt nine miles north of Coagh, has had three other employees killed by IRA guerrillas because they did building work for the security forces.
The IRA says it regards any civilian working for the security forces in any capacity as a legitimate target.
The shooting occurred in an area where rival gunmen have engaged in retaliatory attacks on people on either side of the sectarian divide for the last two years.
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Brooke, meanwhile, said Tuesday night that guerrillas on both sides of the sectarian divide might try to disrupt planned talks on the province’s political future.
In a joint statement Tuesday, Brooke and Collins announced that an Anglo- Irish conference will be held in London April 26.
This will be followed by a 10-week period in which Brooke will start by having separate meetings with leaders of Northern Ireland’s Protestant Official Unionist and Democratic Unionist parties, the moderate Roman Catholic Social Democratic and Labor Party and the centrist Alliance Party.
Round-table discussions will then be held among the Northern Ireland parties during the rest of the 10-week period.
Sinn Fein, the legal political arm of the IRA, is barred from the talks because it refuses to renounce violence.
For more than 20 years, the IRA has attacked police and army units in its effort to end British rule and unite Northern Ireland with the Irish Republic.
The IRA’s military campaign is backed by a minority of Catholics in Northern Ireland.