The Ministry of Defence is set to resist moves to identify an undercover British Army unit responsible for shooting dead IRA members, Daniel Doherty, 23, and William Fleming, 19, in the grounds of the Gransha Hospital in December 1984.
It was alleged that the men were planning to carry out an attack on an off-duty member of the Ulster Defence Regiment when British soldiers ambushed them, firing almost 60 shots.
It is understood the SAS and the Army’s 14th Intelligence Company were involved. But at a preliminary hearing in Belfast ahead of a new inquest that has been ordered into the deaths, an MoD lawyer said it would likely oppose the name of the specific unit involved being made public. Karen Quinlivan QC, representing the relatives, said it was important that the name was made public during the inquest, particularly given the context of an alleged security forces shoot-to-kill policy that operated at that time.
The Coroner, Jim Kitson said he also believed the name was relevant. An inquest was held two years after the shootings but in 2010 Northern Ireland’s Attorney General John Larkin QC ordered another hearing after finding that police documents had been withheld from the coroner at the time. If a PII certificate is applied for and signed the coroner would then have to rule on whether the name should be withheld.