Remembering the Gibraltar killings

AN EPIC poem, which fiercely and fearlessly attacked the system that cloaked the murder of three IRA members by British security forces in Gibraltar in March 1988, is to be republished.

The launch of the new edition of GiB – A Modest Exposure by Scottish socialist Jack Mitchell takes place on Monday December 22 at 8.30pm in The Crane Bar, Sea Road.

The poem was Mitchell’s response to the killings of Daniel McCann, Sean Savage, and Mairead Farrell in Gibraltar in 1988.

Although initial reports said the three terrorists were shot dead after planting a massive car bomb, within 24 hours, the then British foreign secretary, Geoffrey Howe, was forced to admit there had been no car bomb. He told MPs the three were unarmed when they had been shot.

An inquest that September concluded the three had been lawfully killed. However, the result was overturned at Strasbourg in 1995 when Britain was found to have used excessive force and breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

Jack Mitchell taught English literature at Humboldt University in Berlin and retired to Galway in 1990. He was well respected in international circles as a Marxist literary critic particularity for his writings on Robert Tressel’s Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and on the major plays of Sean O’Casey.

Mitchell also wrote poetry and as an admirer of Shelley and Burns felt there was no difference between poetry and politics. He was a good friend of Mairéad Farrell and when he heard about her death he was moved to write GiB – A Modest Exposure.

The title is a play on Swift’s Modest Proposal, but the poem is in the tradition of Shelley’s Mask of Anarchy. The 38-page poem was written in rhyming couplets between October and December 1988 and published by Dublin’s Fulcrum Press.

As this year marks the 20th anniversary of the writing of the poem and the Gibraltar killings, Fulcrum has decided re-published the book with a new introduction by Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.

For more information and tickets contact The Crane on 091 - 587419 or go to



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