In the light of the decision, announced today, by British prosecutors to charge two soldiers with the murder of Official IRA leader, Joe McCann, it is worth re-visiting a post myself and James Kinchin-White (then using the pseudonym ‘Bob Mitchell’) wrote for thebrokenelbow.com back in June 2014.
James had discovered in the Irish National archives a copy of a letter written by the then Irish ambassador to London, Donal O’Sullivan to the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Hugh McCann, describing a meeting he had a week or so after Joe McCann’s death with William Whitelaw, the new Northern Ireland Secretary.
In that letter O’Sullivan describes Whitelaw as expressing regret over the shooting of Joe McCann, saying he ‘should have been shot in the legs’, and that killing him had made him into a martyr.
The import of Whitelaw’s admission is that Joe McCann was unnecessarily killed, i.e. that he was murdered. Forty-four years later, someone has decided to do something about it.
You can read the full letter on this link: https://thebrokenelbow.com/2014/06/15/mr-whitelaw-regrets-joe-mccann-should-have-been-shot-in-the-legs-killing-him-created-a-martyr/