#OTD in 1957 – Birth of Volunteer, Mairéad Farrell, in Belfast.

‘Your minds your strongest weapon, and that’s how we always counteract whatever they do, because they can’t control our minds, they can’t get inside them, and that’s their failure.’ –Mairead Farrell

Mairéad was born in Belfast; the second youngest of six children and the only girl. She was twelve when the British Army took over the streets of Belfast in 1969. Mairéad found school work easy but left after taking her 0 levels. Politics was an important issue in the Farrell household. Mairéad listened to her grandfathers stories but it was her Belfast experiences that politicised her, ‘It was really more the events of those years growing up in the Falls we had to pass through the Brits during the curfews you could only get out for a certain number of hours. We were all victims of the British occupation really you just accepted that you would be involved to defend your country’.

Mairéad Farrell was 31 when she was executed by the SAS in Gibraltar 6 March 1988, during Operation Flavius. British Authorities maintain they were trying to prevent a bombing in Gibraltar, which was never found.

Eyewitnesses described how she, Sean Savage and Dan McCann, members of an unarmed IRA unit, were shot without warning and were deliberately killed at close range as they lay wounded on the ground. Forensic and scientific evidence gave further proof. The three bodies were hit 27 times; shots fired to the body and then to the head, clinical killings professionally carried out. Sean Savage was hit 16 times, including four bullets to the head. Even the state pathologist, Professor Alan Watson, described it as a ‘frenzied attack’.


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