Sir Mike Penning raised a Point of Order in the House of Commons yesterday calling for Parliament to mark the anniversary of the death of Captain Robert Nairac who died 42 years ago and whose body has never been found.
It is widely accepted that on Saturday evening 14th May 1977 Captain Robert Nairac was undercover drinking and singing Republican folk songs in the Three Steps Inn in Dromintee, south Armagh. He was posing as a Catholic from the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.
As he left the bar at the end of the night, he was attacked in the car park and abducted. It is believed he was tortured before being brutally murdered by the IRA. The IRA later put out a statement saying he had been shot. Despite wide-ranging searches at the time, his body has never been found. He was 28.
Captain Nairac was Sir Mike’s captain in the Guards, but was serving as a liaison officer for military intelligence when he was murdered.
Sir Mike told MPs:
“He was a gentleman who, in the boxing ring, broke my nose—the first person to have done so. We still do not know what happened to him. The country owes a debt to our soldiers in Northern Ireland, and particularly to those who have given the utmost for their country. Mr Speaker, is there any way for me to mark 42 years since Captain Robert Nairac gave his life for this country and for the peace of Northern Ireland?”
Speaking afterwards, Sir Mike added:
“To this day nobody has come forward to tell us all what happened to him. The cowards who, almost certainly, tortured him following his abduction and then murdered him in cold blood, know where he lies.
“He, and so many others, gave so much for the peace that Northern Ireland enjoys today. But for Captain Robert Nairac’s family, there cannot be any true peace until they know the truth and can lay him to rest.
“To me, he was most definitely an incredibly brave young man. He was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1979. It is time he was able to rest in peace and there should be a permanent memorial to him in London.”