Chapter 128: The sighting of nail bombs
128.1 In the course of considering the question of paramilitary activity in Glenfada Park North elsewhere in this report,1we referred to evidence about the sighting of nail bombs. Of that evidence it seems to us that the accounts given by Michael Quinn (one of those wounded in Glenfada Park North) are of particular relevance in the present context.
128.2 In the Sunday Times notes of an interview with Michael Quinn, to which we have already referred when discussing how he came to be wounded in Sector 4, the following passage appears:1
“NOTE: Under guaranty of total anonymity, quinn told us the following;
1. there were two ‘IRA cars’ parked in glenfadda [sic] park. he knows they were IRA men, known in the district. two were in one, unknown in the other. he saw no guns.
2. while standing between the fences on the south side of glenfadda he saw two youths carrying nail bombs in their hands. one had long fair hair and was wearing a blue denim jacket; the other had very black hair, shortish, and was wearing a fawn jacket. the boms [sic] were cyclindrical [sic] shape with a black fuse projecting from the top; they were about 6 ins long he estimates. at no time did he see the bombs lit but he is adamant that he saw them. one description fits gerard donaghy perfectly.
3. he says that he heard from close source that a senior Official IRA man arrived on the scene and told the nail bombers to take them away as there was too much danger to other civilians. ”
128.3 Although Philip Jacobson and Peter Pringle, the Sunday Times journalists who compiled this note, recorded that the description of one of the men “fits gerard donaghy perfectly ”, Peter Pringle, in his evidence to this Inquiry, accepted that the description did not fit Gerald Donaghey since, as they later learned, “he does not have long fair hair ”.1We have examined the morgue photographs (which we have decided not to exhibit in this report), which in our view show that Gerald Donaghey’s hair was dark brown and that on Bloody Sunday it was fairly short.
128.4 In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Michael Quinn stated that after soldiers had come into Rossville Street he decided to take cover in Glenfada Park North. He continued:1
“I do not know how long I was in Glenfada Park North, but I remember after some time seeing two young fellows in the northeast corner at the point marked I in grid reference J13 (and on photograph MQ1) who were looking round the corner of the flats into Rossville Street. They were only young, about my age or a little bit older, and I did not know them. I was concerned in case they did anything. They were clearly nervous too, looking out and back again. I recall one of them having a denim jacket and dark hair and one with fair hair and a quilted anorak. The boy with the fair hair and quilted anorak had something which might have been a nail bomb in his left side pocket. I had not seen one before and didn’t know what it looked like but I remember something like a Coke tin with grey tape and a piece of material coming out of the top. Coupled with the fact that they were peering out towards the army and seemed very nervous and were keeping a look out I was very frightened by what I saw. It was then I saw a man coming from the northwest corner of Glenfada Park North walking in the direction of the arrow I have marked on the map into Glenfada Park North at grid reference I13 towards these two boys. I remember hearing him say words to the effect of ‘Put those away, you will only get people killed’. My only recollection is of seeing what I took to be a nail bomb in a pocket, but my memory of these words suggests to me that the boys may have had something in their hands which I saw, but cannot now remember seeing. The shooting in Rossville Street was going on at this time and was reasonably intense and the boys did as they were told and left by the northwest corner of Glenfada Park with this man back the way he had come. I did not recognise the man, or know whether he was an IRA man but concluded later that the man probably was a member of the IRA – by virtue of the way the boys unquestioningly did what he told them. The man was older than we were and was wearing a long coat. I would say he was in his mid twenties but I had never seen him before or since. ”
128.5 We reproduce below the map and photograph to which Michael Quinn was referring in this passage.1
128.6 It will be noted that in his account to this Inquiry, Michael Quinn described the youth in a denim jacket as having dark hair.
128.7 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Michael Quinn said that what the Sunday Times journalists had noted about the hair colour of the youth in the denim jacket might have been wrong and that his memory now was that set out in his written statement.1He also told us that, though he did not know Gerald Donaghey, on the day after Bloody Sunday he was given a newspaper containing photographs of people shot on Bloody Sunday, and “I did not recognise Gerard Donaghy as anyone who was in Glenfada Park or was one of the two that I considered might be carrying nail bombs ”.2
128.8 On the basis of the account Michael Quinn gave to the Sunday Times, it seems to us probable that he did see two youths with nail bombs in Glenfada Park North. His evidence to this Inquiry is to the effect that he saw these youths after shooting had broken out in Rossville Street; and that before soldiers had come into Glenfada Park North the youths had left by the north-western entrance on the instructions of an older man. From this entrance it is possible to get into Abbey Park on its northern side.
128.9 Although Michael Quinn told us that he did not recognise Gerald Donaghey as one of the two youths, it seems to us to be possible, though far from certain, that the youth wearing the denim jacket was Gerald Donaghey. There is accordingly some support, albeit in our view slight, for the view that shortly before he was shot Gerald Donaghey was seen in possession of nail bombs in Glenfada Park North; and that he then went in a direction that would have enabled him to reach Abbey Park, where he was shot in circumstances that we have described elsewhere in this report.1
128.10 In our analysis of the events of Sector 4 we also considered the evidence of Danny Craig, Charles McGill and Benn Keaveney.
128.11 Danny Craig told us that while he was in Glenfada Park North he saw a “kid of about 10 ” carrying a tray made of a biscuit tin lid which looked to be full of petrol or nail bombs. Danny Craig said that he knocked the tray out of the boy’s hands and told him to get out.1 Charles McGill told us that, long after the shooting was over, he saw three young men in the Abbey Park area, who had a tray holding about ten nail bombs.2 Benn Keaveney spoke of seeing two to four nail bombs in a box, not a tray.3
3; ; ;
128.12 It seems to us that although none of these witnesses said anything that suggests that Gerald Donaghey was seen with nail bombs, and thus that their evidence does not link Gerald Donaghey with the possession of nail bombs, the fact that civilians were seen in the area with such devices forms part of the general background against which to assess the likelihood that Gerald Donaghey had nail bombs in his pockets.
128.13 We now turn to discuss the evidence of witnesses who saw Gerald Donaghey in the immediate aftermath of his shooting, and of those who were involved in moving him from the Bogside to the RAP at Craigavon Bridge.