The Question is: Paddy McGrory

The Question is: Paddy McGrory

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Belfast, Havelock House




Transmission 22/10/1988


24min 54sec




1 inch



Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


Presented by Barry Cowan, this is a series attempting to answer some of Northern Ireland's - and life's - burning questions, with this episode hosting Paddy McGrory who explains how it felt defending the families of the IRA members who had been shot in Gibraltar by undercover members of the British Special Air Service.

Paddy speaks about how he is and always has been a "student of the law" and felt obligated to defend the families when asked, as the trial threw into question the whole meaning of the law and should states faced with violence sometimes be exempt when stepping outside the law. However, this has left people identifying him with his clients which has hurt his practice as many have "deserted" him due to thinking he had lost respectability. 

Another matter of contention for Paddy is the issue of press during the trial, with it obtaining international publicity, this left him with two impressions of the British media. He states that reporters from "quality" newspapers frequently approached him but no reporters from the tabloids ever approached him to see "if I was a human being at all, did I fit the media image". 


Operation Flavius was a military operation in which three members of a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) were shot dead by undercover members of the British Special Air Service (SAS) in Gibraltar on 6 March 1988.

 Seán Savage, Daniel McCann, and Mairéad Farrell were believed to be mounting a car bomb attack on British military personnel in Gibraltar. Plain-clothed SAS soldiers approached them in the forecourt of a petrol station, then opened fire, killing them. All three were found to be unarmed, and no bomb was discovered in Savage's car, leading to accusations that the British government had conspired to murder them. 

An inquest in Gibraltar ruled that the SAS had acted lawfully, while the European Court of Human Rights held that, although there had been no conspiracy, the planning and control of the operation was so flawed as to make the use of lethal force almost inevitable. 


A UTV Production.

Director: Mervyn Waugh

Editor: Jamie Delargy 

Reconstruction: Dennis Woolf Production for Channel 4 




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