Could Derry schoolboy Gordon Gallagher been saved if security force touts within the
Provos had been doing their jobs properly in 1973?
Instead, a nine-year-old child with his whole life in front of him to enjoy was
dispatched into eternity.
For four decades, the Provos tried to blame the British Army for activating the
landmine which murdered Gordon.
Then, in a dramatic turnaround, the IRA finally admitted responsibility a matter
of days ago for this wee lad's brutal killing.
But the IRA's admission has only served to open another can of worms concerning
the so-called 'Dirty War' in the North between the security forces and terrorist
A well-placed republican source is adamant a senior Provo at the time of Gordon's
murder was an informer and would have given the green light for the planting of the
landmine which killed the schoolboy.
Why did the tout not give the precise location of the landmine? Why did his
handlers not act sooner on that information? More importantly, could Gordon's
horrific death been avoided?
And equally significantly, how many others died in the Troubles either to protect
the identity of well-placed touts, or because information from those touts was not
processed soon enough?
According to my republican source, the senior IRA figure who ordered the landmine
attack had already been unmasked as an informer before internment was introduced in
However, because no IRA members had been killed, arrested, or weapons lost as a
result of the tout's information, the informer did not face the usual fate of being
murdered or becoming one of the Disappeared.
The republican source told me: "When internment came, each person was brought
individually before the Brits and given the offer that their jail term would be
dictated by the amount of co-operation they gave.
"Everyone was given this offer, but the meeting would only last a few minutes if
you refused the offer."
The source emphasised the person who was later to become a senior figure in the
Co Derry IRA and who oversaw the landmine attack which killed young Gordon was with
the security forces "for hours, not minutes".
A message was smuggled to the IRA leadership that this individual – who is now
dead – was continuing to inform. My source said this warning was ignored by the
"I was told there was not enough evidence to warrant an inquiry," added the
Instead of placing this tout at arm's length, the IRA leadership actually
promoted him to a senior rank within the movement in 1972.
A year later, Gordon died in the blast at his Creggan home. The republican source
also described the senior IRA man who oversaw the landmine attack as "the Derry
equivalent of Denis Donaldson. He was a big time informer".
Donaldson had been the head of Sinn Féin's Stormont administration before being
unmasked as a long-term British agent. He was eventually murdered at an isolated
cottage in Donegal by dissident republicans.
The source also alleged that not all the cash raised through robberies went into
the IRA's coffers to run the terror organisation. Some was secretly given to the
families of victims as so-called 'compensation', he claimed.
Makes you wonder what the IRA did with all the millions of pounds it got from the
Northern Bank heist?
On one hand, the IRA admitting it killed wee Gordon may bring some closure to the
family, but it also opens another chapter in the conflict – how many other informers
are to be 'outed' in the Dirty War?