While the IRA abducted, tortured, murdered and ‘disappeared’ many civilians in the course of its unnecessary murder campaign, its youngest torture victim was 15 year old Bernard Teggart from New Barnsley Crescent in West Belfast.
The lives of Bernard and his identical twin Gerry had been disrupted two years earlier when their father, Daniel, had been shot dead by paratroopers in Ballymurphy in disputed circumstances. This left their mother, Bella, to raise 13 children on her own.
Bernard and Gerry had been sent to St. Patrick’s Detention Centre for truancy. They were required to stay there from Sunday night until Friday evening every week, but were allowed home for weekends.
Bernard had witnessed a number of IRA men hijacking a beer lorry and saw one IRA man holding a gun to the driver’s head. He had allegedly gone to driver’s aid and may have shouted, “Leave him alone or I’ll tell on you!”
It was also alleged that the IRA gang was arrested in the act of hijacking the lorry by a passing British army patrol – highlighting that Bernard could not have in any way passed information to anyone about the incident.
Bernard’s mother, Bella, later said that Bernard had a mental age of 8 or 9 years.
Shortly after the hijacking incident, a black taxi carried a number of armed and masked IRA men to St. Pats where they abducted the twins. The IRA was unsure which twin had seen the hijacking incident.
Gerry Teggart recalled that they were taken to at least three houses, and in one of the houses there were a number of women witnesses to their abduction and interrogation.
Gerry recalled hearing Bernard’s screams while he was being beaten in an upstairs room, evidently after the IRA had determined that he was the hijacking witness.
On a freezing November evening, Gerry was given a coat and 15p for a bus fare back to St. Patrick’s.
Bernard’s brutal interrogation must have continued until he was tortured into admitting – falsely – that he was an informer.
His IRA torturers tied his hands and feet and set out on his final black taxi journey to the then disused Floral Hall at Bellevue Zoo.
Here, the IRA ‘nutting squad’ carried Bernard to the steps of the Floral Hall and shot him in the back of the head.
A piece of cardboard was placed on his body with the word “Tout” written on it.
But Bernard was not dead of his headwound.
A passing UDR patrol found him still alive but gravely injured and he was removed to hospital where he subsequently passed away at 3am.
Apart from being shot, he had been badly beaten.
Bernard’s sister, Harper, recalled:
And so the youngest victim of Gerry Adams’ Ballymurphy IRA torturer comrades had been executed for a ‘crime’ he did not commit.
The IRA was pressured into admitting in 2004 that it had wrongly tortured and executed Bernard and that he was not an informer.
Three Catholic priests – Frs. Denis Faul, Aodh Bennet and Alex Reid – released the following statement after Bernard’s torture and murder:
“What kind of organisation would feel threatened by a boy with a mental age of eight? What kind of justice did this boy receive, who was ill-treated and murdered without trial? We are asking people to stand up and to say that they will not tolerate an environment which does not respect the vulnerability of children.”
What kind of organisation?
I can answer that question – the IRA supported by its political front, Sinn Féin, still unwilling to admit the IRA’s many thousands of Human Rights violations.
Within 24 hours of Bernard’s murder, the IRA murdered another child – this time a girl, 14 year old Kathleen Feeney from Quarry Street in the Brandywell area of Derry/Londonderry.
An IRA gang opened fire on a British army patrol on the Lecky Road and shot Kathleen through the head.
When she fell to the ground, a British soldier tried to give her first aid.
The Derry Brigade of the IRA, one of whose leaders was Martin McGuinness, issued a statement almost immediately:
“The people of Derry are aware that we have admitted responsibility for our actions even at times when mistakes were made by us and civilians injured. We say categorically that the shooting of young Kathleen Feeney was the work of the British army and not of the republican movement.”
This statement was a deliberate lie, but it was followed by a more fanciful and ridiculous lie – the ‘Derry Brigade’ later claimed to have shot dead the actual British soldier who had allegedly shot Kathleen Feeney.
The IRA’s deluded followers believed both statements.
Unfortunately for the IRA, a local teenage IRA volunteer was arrested and quickly admitted shooting Kathleen Feeney.
He was later sentenced for his crime, but even then the IRA did not admit its gross lies until 2005 after pressure from the Feeney family.
How cynical of Sinn Féin’s new female puppet leaders to issue statements about the Catholic church’s horrific child abuse while pretending that the IRA has no Human Rights’ violations of children to answer…
For an article on IRA Torture, click here.
For an article on IRA enlistment of child fighters, click here.
For an article on Gerry Adams’ inability to repent, click here.
For an article on Mary Lou McDonald’s links to the IRA, click here.