37 days before The Claudy Bombings, you were King of the Heap in the South Derry Brigade of the I Ran Aways when you triggered a landmine that blew three British soldiers to bits and maimed four others.
Then 24 years of age, you were four or five years older than most of the other young I Ran Aways and were undoubtedly a highly-regarded Explosives’ Officer and soldier killer.
You continued to be a central I Ran Away bomber – right through the period of The Claudy Bombings – until your arrest 8 months later.
Just 17 days before the Claudy Bombings, your importance to the I Ran Aways was increased when the other Explosives’ Officer, Brendan Anthony Toner, was captured in possession of both the trigger device for another landmine and the landmine itself.
The soldiers who captured him did not shoot him – contrary to the I Ran Away’s own invariable ‘shoot to kill’ policy – but arrested him.
Toner’s capture – and sudden absence – magnified your importance to the South Derry Brigade and put you even more at the centre of making and exploding bombs for the I Ran Aways.
Your services were required – along with those of others – to make and prime in the bomb factory at Craigavole the three car bombs that were driven to Claudy and left there to blow civilians to bits.
When you were arrested, something happened to make you one of the most valuable informants the Royal Ulster Constabulary captured in the South Derry Brigade area – you cooperated with the former enemy – the RUC – and took them out into the fields to help them to locate weapons of the I Ran Aways.
Five weapons were located.
You gave information about yourself and landed yourself with over 50 charges.
You gave information about your former I Ran Away comrades and were commended by the judge for your cooperation “in this and other matters”.
Only you know the full extent of that sudden cooperation.
Like so many I Ran Aways in South Derry and elsewhere you were willing to change allegiance within hours of your capture to save your own neck.
And then in prison, you changed allegiance back again to the I Ran Aways to survive the long prison years.
You know what it is to make a family suffer – you got your own mother and two brothers arrested and sentenced to imprisonment for your abortive escape attempt from Magilligan prison.
Looking back at your flipping allegiances and long years in prison, at the waste of so much human life for an endgame of Dáil Éireann and Stormont, would you not now consider showing allegiance to the civilian population among whom you played out your hero fantasies?
Do you not now consider that the civilian victims of Claudy Bombings are owed your final allegiance since you are now in your seventies?
You know all those I Ran Aways who participated in the Claudy Bombings.
You know how many I Ran Aways actually ran away across the border following the Claudy Bombings and some all the way to America.
You carry in your mind and memory all the information that the families of the Claudy victims need to finally lay this atrocity to rest.
It’s not true, Malachy, that it is never too late to do the right thing – it is too late when you are dead.
There will be many in politics, in religion and in the media who will tell you that you need not do the right thing – that you have moved on – old murders no longer count as much as new murders – that truth need not be told.
The Catholic church might even grant you the honours due to a Head of State when you go – for services rendered to the I Ran Aways.
I would call on you to do the right thing by the I Ran Away’s victims of The Claudy Bombings.
You were prepared to shoot, bomb and murder for Ireland – you were prepared to cooperate with the Brits and RUC to save your own skin – you were prepared to send your family to jail to help you escape your imprisonment.
Would you not now finally do something for the innocent civilians and tell all you know about The Claudy Bombings – don’t listen to those who will try to silence you.
Do the right thing after doing so many wrong things.
Leave an example to those young people in the G.A.A. that murder, bombing, lies and denials are always unnecessary and always wrong.
For an article about the Claudy Bombers and Man “A” suspect, see here.