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Friday, 4 May, 2001, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
IRA deaths: The four shootings
Mairead Kelly with a photo of the eight IRA men killed in an SAS ambush
Mairead Kelly's brother Patrick was shot at Loughgall
Ten IRA men shot dead by British soldiers and the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland had their human rights violated, a European court has ruled.

Judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg considered four separate incidents between 1982 and 1992 which led to accusations of a "shoot-to-kill" policy.

They were:


The IRA suffered its worst single loss of men when eight members of its so-called 'East Tyrone brigade' were shot dead by the SAS in a fierce gun battle at Loughgall, Co Armagh on 8 May 1987.

They were killed in a hail of bullets when troops opened fire on them as they launched a bomb and gun attack on the village RUC station.

The IRA men who died were the East Tyrone IRA 'Commander' Patrick Kelly, 32; Declan Arthurs, 21; Seamus Donnelly, 19; Michael Gormley, 25; Eugene Kelly, 25; James Lynagh, 31, Patrick McKearney, 32 and Gerard O'Callaghan, 29.

The SAS ambushed IRA men in Loughgall
Eight IRA men were killed as they bombed a police station
A civilian, Anthony Hughes, 36, was killed and his brother badly wounded when they were caught up in the crossfire.

The SAS laid a careful ambush after learning of the attack in advance.

A squad of 24 soldiers from the elite regiment, split into six groups, took up position around and inside the part-time police station.

They opened fire from several different directions when the heavily armed IRA unit approached the station with a 200lb bomb, its fuse lit, in the bucket of a hijacked JCB digger.

The firing started as the digger smashed through the gates of the station and the bomb detonated, injuring two RUC men.

The IRA men died, all of head wounds, when the soldiers fired more than 600 bullets.

The IRA men fired 70 shots before they were cut down - no soldiers were hit.

Patrick Shanaghan

Patrick Shanaghan, 31, a member of Sinn Fein was ambushed and shot dead behind the wheel of his van by the loyalist Ulster Defence Association (UDA) as he drove to work.

The bachelor from Killen outside Castlederg, Co Tyrone, was a part-time aide to a Strabane Sinn Fein councillor.

Nine months before his murder he was told by police that his name and other personal details were in the hands of loyalists, after a photo montage was lost from an Army vehicle.

The Shanaghan family maintained there was security force collusion in the murder, and a public inquiry staged at Castlederg in 1996 heard strong criticism of the RUC.

The American lawyer who presided, Andrew Somers Jnr, concluded: "Patrick Shanaghan was murdered by the British Government and more specifically with the collusion of the police."

Pearse Jordan

An IRA man from the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast, Pearse Jordan, 23, was shot dead by the RUC in disputed circumstances after a car collision on the Falls Road on 25 November 1992.

Witnesses claimed the stolen car he was driving was rammed and that, as he attempted to run away, he was shot three times in the back.

There was widespread controversy about the killing, with the dead man's family saying they would have no confidence in any police investigation.

The then RUC Chief Constable Sir Hugh Annesley, invited the independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate the shooting.

Security sources said later that detectives had linked the car Jordan had been driving, through explosives traces, to the discovery of bomb-making materials found at a house in the Glen Road area of west Belfast.

At the time of the shooting the security forces were on full alert to try to prevent any pre-Christmas bombing campaign in Belfast.

It was alleged the dead man had been photographed some days earlier at a security checkpoint in the city.

Gervaise McKerr

Gervaise McKerr, 31, was one of three IRA men from Lurgan, Co Armagh, shot dead by a special RUC unit in the first of a series of incidents which led to claims about a "shoot-to-kill" policy being operated by the security forces.

McKerr, Sean Burns and Eugene Toman were in a Ford Escort which police fired 109 shots into it in Lurgan on 11 November 1982.

Car in which Gervaise McKerr was shot near Lurgan
Car in which Gervaise McKerr was shot near Lurgan
McKerr was driving a vehicle which police opened fire on and chased after it crashed through a roadblock.

It emerged later that Burns and Toman were suspected of involvement in the murder of three RUC men a fortnight earlier, and had been under observation.

Families of the dead men strongly disputed the police version of events and the controversy led to an internal investigation.

Three policemen were charged with murdering the IRA men but were acquitted by Lord Justice Gibson, who said after hearing the Crown's case that he found the men "absolutely blameless".

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See also:

04 May 01 | Northern Ireland
UK condemned over IRA deaths
04 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Families hear 'shoot-to-kill' case
05 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
'Shoot-to-kill' case gets go-ahead
02 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
Human rights law takes effect
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