GERALD Ford’s Ambassador to Dublin, John D. J. Moore, wrote to the US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1974 noting the Catholic Bishop of Derry, Edward Daly’s, scathing criticism of the IRA for the murder of a Londonderry-born judge.
A cable published by the anti-secrecy organisation Wikileaks shows that prominent coverage was given to Bishop Daly’s reaction to the murder of Judge Rory Conaghan, aged 54, and of Resident Magistrate, Martin McBirney, aged 55, on the same day (September 16, 1974).
Mr Conaghan was originally from Francis Street in Londonderry and his wife, Gabrielle, who passed away in 2009, was from Westend Park.
A communiqué from Mr Moore to Mr Kissinger’s office in Washington stated: “Particularly prominent Irish TV coverage was given to the statement by Catholic Bishop Daly of Derry, who said: ‘To think that (they were) murdered by an organisation that claims that it has as an objective the reunification of our country is irony indeed.
“We can only hope that this new crime will bring more people to realise that the Provisional IRA does not have the interest of the people of Ireland at heart.
“Whatever motives they may have had an in 1970 have become smothered in a campaign of murder and destruction. It is a disgrace to themselves and the Irish people as a whole.”
Mr Conaghan and Mr McBirney has been shot dead at their homes in South and East Belfast respectively in September 1974 and Mr Moore was providing Mr Kissinger with an apprasial of the reaction in Dublin.
Elsewhere, in the same memo Mr Moore tells Washington an unnamed Dublin Professor - who he says has proved reliable in the past - believed the IRA carried out the murders to ensure internment continued because they felt it was an important source of community support.
“Most interesting comment, however, was made to us by a Dublin Professor who is close to current Government,” stated the Ambassador.
“He told us he was convinced Provos had carried out this atrocity because they feared British might be planning to end internment.
“There has been some recent press speculation to this effect and Provos may have believed it.
“There is a widespread belief here that internment is an albatross around the neck of the British Northern Ireland administration,” he added.
Mr Moore said the Provos believed internment was their most important remaining source of community support.
“Although it may seem difficult to believe that Provos want to retain internment, while British and Irish moderates want to end it, our source has always been objective,” he continued.