East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell has provoked controversy through a Facebook post referring to the shooting dead of three members of the IRA in the context of Glasgow Celtic’s forthcoming match against Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.
On Saturday, July 9, Mr Campbell posted: “Someone told me that Celtic are due to play on the 12th, in Gibraltar.
“That info was ok but wasn’t sure what he meant when he hoped that it wouldn’t be like the last time Irish Republican sympathisers went to Gibraltar and lost.”
Mr Campbell’s post has been interpreted as a reference to the killing of Daniel McCann, Mairéad Farrell, and Sean Savage by the SAS, whilst they were on their way to bomb the First Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment during a ceremonial changing of the guard at Ince’s Hall in Gibraltar on March 8, 1988.
Whilst an inquest into their deaths produced a verdict of lawful killing, an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights found that whilst they were engaged in terrorism, they were unlawfully killed.
The post provoked a mixed reaction, with SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone tweeting: “Only Gregory Campbell could politicise a football match in such a way!! Pretty crass in so many ways.”
But twitter user John Magee felt this was an overreaction.
“Gregory Campbell MP makes an ironic comment about Celtic playing in Gibraltar on 12th July and the republicans go pear shaped. #itsajoke.”