Extradited Suspect Admits Role in 1996 Provisional IRA Mortar Attack in Germany

Unencumbered by the Belfast Agreement, ‘comfort’ letters, or any proposals on legacy issues, German authorities sought and, last year, secured the extradition of  a suspect in the Provisional IRA mortar attack on a British army barracks near Osnabrück, Germany, in June 1996.

James Anthony Oliver Albert Corry, from north Belfast, had been arrested in Killorglin, Co Kerry, in October 2015, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by German authorities.

At the start of his trial today in a court in the city of Osnabrück, Corry admitted his role in the 1996 Provisional IRA mortar attack.  Which he had previously denied.

The Irish Times report has some details from the courtroom.

Appearing in court for the first day of his trial at Osnabrück regional court, his defence attorney read a statement confirming Mr Corry’s membership of a PIRA active service unit (ASU).

Mr Corry agreed he was in Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, ahead of the attack on the Quebec base on June 28th, 1996 and was responsible for mounting a pre-assembled mortar firing device on the back of a rented Ford Transit pick-up truck.

He drove the truck to a side entrance of the base at 6.15pm and triggered a timer, which detonated at 6.50pm. Two mortars failed to ignite, a third detonated on the other side of the fence near a base petrol station.

“The aim was to make clear to the British military that there was no secure place Rückzugsort on the continent,” said Mr Corry, through his defence attorney Dirk Schoenian. “It is not disputed that the aim was to kill members of the British armed forces. But if the aim was to kill as many (people) as possible, the attack wouldn’t have been planned at 6.15pm but at midday when there was as much movement as possible on the base.”

Lower Saxony state prosecutor Melanie Redlich said the mortar device that exploded contained a 70kg ammonium nitrate-sugar mixture and landed 34 metres from the truck.

“It is only by luck that people were neither injured nor killed . . . although 150 people were in the base at the time,” said Dr Redlich.

And another interesting detail.

Mr Corry and his family have been supported in the trial by Sinn Féin and a representative was in court on Wednesday, whom Mr Corry greeted by raising his fist in salute.

Final points to note from the Irish Times report.

If found guilty he is likely to face between four and five years in prison. The court indicated on Wednesday that one year of that sentence may be commuted due to claims of German procedural delays in acting on information about Mr Corry’s whereabouts supplied by the Irish authorities in 2005.

The court is also considering a request for Mr Corry to serve any sentence in Ireland.

Mr Corry indicated he would not address the court directly, only through his defence attorney. While he would not give any information about other members of the unit behind the 1996 attack, he would give information about the attack as he no longer had any link to the PIRA or felt bound by its oaths of secrecy.

In 2003, former British soldier Michael Dixon was sentenced to six years and six months for his role in the 1996 attack. German prosecutors believe five people in total were involved.

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  • james

    “Mr Corry and his family have been supported in the trial by Sinn Féin and a representative was in court on Wednesday, whom Mr Corry greeted by raising his fist in salute.”

    That’s interesting – hardly surprising, but interesting.

  • Marcus Orr

    Equality and diversity must be upheld.

  • Granni Trixie

    Even more interesting to know who were the others imvolved.

  • Zeno

    Ah, and just when I we were starting to think the IRA didn’t exist and didn’t kill anybody.

  • mac tire

    This is just one of those moments when you felt you really had to say something but had nothing really to say.

  • james

    One wonders what the Germans make of Sinn Fein supporting terrorist attacks in their country.

  • james

    Certainly Sinn Fein seem to support his actions, at least in principle if not necessarily in more tangible ways so, yes, it would be interesting indeed to know who the others involved were and what they’re doing with their lives nowadays.

  • Granni Trixie

    Maybe this is a long shot but could this man admitting what he previously denied be part of a pattern started a few weeks ago by that bomb maker who spoke out about “collective responsibility” for planting the Birmingham bombs?

  • Zeno

    Probably shocked after they supported Hitler and the Kaiser.

  • Marcus Orr

    Apart from the ad hominem by mac tire I notice a distinct lack of response to this thread by Irish nationalists/ republicans….I wonder why that is.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Support for Kaiser Bill was not limited to the Germans Zeno! That little 1914 pamphlet published by the Ulster Liberal Association, “The Kaiser’s Ulster friends: pro-German speeches by prominent Carsonites” always makes interesting reading for anyone inclined to question the reality of much vaunted NI “loyalty”:

    http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000507650

    In the 1910/14 period the Kaiser was finding a lot of support amongst the UUC/UVF.

  • Granni Trixie

    ‘The others’ in the bombing gang must be fearing their involvement will be dragged into the spotlight again.

  • Granni Trixie

    Post election they are a scarce resource on Slugger. Who knows why but I suppose with sf opting out of government they know they’re wrong footed.

  • Granni Trixie

    Seaan, forgive my ignorance of history but I was curious to know if the ULA was stand alone or connected to the Liberal or Unionist parties and got going on Google – which revealed that filling in the gaps in my knowledge will be no quick fix. A steer from yourself would be appreciated.

    ( Can’t resist telling you from my Ladbrook Grove temporary abode that who did I see at the bottom of my street yesterday but Corbyn surrounded by adoring local people and my grandchildren took phone pics of “somebody famous” to circulate. TBF, I think he was meeting in a local caf with community leaders to discuss the fire at Latimer Rd, nearby. )

  • Glenn

    “Although an open ally of the Nazis, Russell is still honoured by the modern IRA and Sinn Fein. In September 2003, Sinn Fein MEP Mary Lou McDonald spoke at a rally to commemorate Russell in the north Dublin park. The same rally was also addressed by veteran IRA man Brian Keenan”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/jan/02/ireland

  • Glenn

    Is this Sinn Fein/IRA collusion??? Or should we not use the term Sinn Fein/IRA collusion as they are one and the same. Oh yes I forgot the PSNI have a live murder investigation that resulted in a QC lead inquiry which concluded that they were indeed one and the same. Strange after all the denials from Sinn Fein/IRA that the IRA did not exist.

    A political party who supports the police, courts and law and order in Northern Ireland, and who are huge supporters of the EU. Are still trouting around Europe supporting a man on a terrorist charge??? The more things change the more they remain the same. When is the next bonfire story on Nolan or Crawley???

  • Reader

    SeaanUiNeill: Support for Kaiser Bill was not limited to the Germans Zeno! That little 1914 pamphlet published by the Ulster Liberal Association, “The Kaiser’s Ulster friends: pro-German speeches by prominent Carsonites” always makes interesting reading for anyone inclined to question the reality of much vaunted NI “loyalty”:
    This was Kaiser Bill, Colonel in chief of the 1st Royal Dragoons at the time, and Admiral of the Royal Navy? Head of state of a country that was at peace with the UK?
    The situation changed in 1914 though. Obviously.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Read the comments in the pamphlet Reader, in the event that you are so very unaware of the German government’s “courting” of some very willing NI Politicians as an embarrassment to Asquith’s government. Just as a taster, this quote from November 1913 hardly suggests a loyalty consistent with of the behaviour of a staunchly loyal community or, in Germany’s case, of a country “at peace” with Britain and Ireland:

    “It may not be known to the rank and file of Unionists that we have an offer of aid from a powerful continental monarch who, if Home Rule is forced on the Protestants of Ireland, is prepared to send an army sufficient to release England of any further trouble in Ireland by attaching it to his dominion…”

    Hardly a harmless flirtation with a foreign power! “HG” (the author) is of course referring to Carson’s negotiations with Germany rather earlier in the year. In this context it is perhaps interesting to compare his actions with that of another knight who later negotiated aid from Germany, one who received his honour for services to humanity, rather than simply as an ex officio honour attached to legal office, Sir roger Casement.

    Also, in this context, it is important to remember that the form of devolution envisaged for an Irish parliament was so constrained, that we are experiencing currently with Stormont far more of a situation of being “cast off” that faced these people.

    In her obituary of F.J.Bigger the historian Alice Stopford Green speaks of “this generation, which lives practically without any historical background…” Nothing seems to change, and I am always astonished at the complete lack of detailed knowledge even amongst the well educated of what was actually going in the inception of the polity we all live in!!!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I was in a London bookshop where Corbyn was browsing with two friends just the other day myself. My daughter is a committed Corbynista and was delighted to hear that he is not constantly surrounded by security agents.

    The situation of both Liberal and Conservative parties in Ireland during the nineteenth century is far from simple. There was a local organisation, certainly, but my own understanding is that both parties were simply a part of the broader party organisations across Great Britain and Ireland. That said, the local party structures showed considerable independence of action on some issues. But as both Irish parties usually took the party whip I’d see the organisations as a continuum. The information on such things available on the internet reflects the same rule as the programs available on, say, Netflix, as both are homogeneous collections of what is popularly available (or what is historically canonic) and as there s no popular interests in the sort of detail you and I are interested in on this issue it is simply not available on line.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Glenn for explaining this to someone who regularly claims that the IRA were inspired in their own recourse to violence by the inceptive recourse to violent solutions of the UUC. As Eoin McNeill put it in 1914 “The North Began……”

    I’m curious though about whether you actually think, as it appears, that this somehow cancels out Unionist culpability. But of course Mary Lou is not the party claiming a British identity or some profound loyalty to Britain.Its a matter of consistency…….

  • 05OCT68

    An IRA man admits participating in an IRA attack, It has been widely reported, since Pete Baker hasn’t offered an opinion this is reportage & I’m not sure why it was posted.