The devastating impact of the Czech plastic explosive, Semtex, supplied to the IRA by Muammar Gaddafi during the Troubles has been graphically outlined by Queen’s Counsel and Labour Lord, Daniel Brennan.
Lord Brennan explained how the IRA used the explosives to cause devastation across the United Kingdom.
“Semtex was used by the IRA as the trigger explosive for car bombs,” said Lord Brennan.
“You could load the boot with enough fertiliser to create a major explosion. The evil of supplying Semtex was that it enlarged the area of blast damage,” he added.
“In the first number of metres it blew people apart; in the next number of metres there was thermal damage, which burned people alive; and shrapnel damage from the car itself was spread over several hundred metres.
“These days the car bomb is more controlled but suicide bombers operate the same technique. They wear a waist belt packed with explosives, nails, bullets and all kinds of projectiles which will be sent out to damage people once they have blown themselves up. This is a constant,” Lord Brennan explained.
UUP peer Lord Rogan expressed concern that some of the Semtex supplied by the late Libyan leader to the IRA during the Troubles may now be in the hands of anti-agreement republicans.
“Even as recently as February of this year dissident republican terrorists were boasting that they have more than a tonne of Semtex plastic explosive that escaped the decommissioning process and could now be used against mainland British targets,” said Lord Rogan.
“Provisional IRA veterans who disagreed with the peace process in Northern Ireland and who have experience of handling Semtex are among those who have access to the secret weapons dumps. They claim to have tested it and confirmed that it is still viable, even though it was smuggled to Ireland via Libya in the 1980s,” he added.
Lord Rogan made the remarkable estimation that the weaponry sent by Gaddafi to the IRA during the Troubles could have armed five per cent of the British Army.
“The British Army today has 47 infantry battalions, so the weapons that were sent by Gaddafi could supply five per cent of the British infantry,” he said.