Comic Relief cash given to ex-IRA bomber

Comic Relief chiefs were involved in urgent discussions following revelations that donations were given to an organisation run by a former IRA bomber.

A total of £87,000 was allocated to Tar Isteach, a group set up by Thomas Quigley for Irish Republican ex-prisoners, according to Comic Relief's annual report.

Quigley and accomplice Paul Kavanagh carried out a month-long London terror campaign in 1981, including the Chelsea Barracks bomb which killed two passers-by and injured 23 Irish Guards.

A bomb in an Oxford Street Wimpy bar killed a bomb disposal expert and the Wimbledon home of Sir Michael Havers, then Attorney-General, was also bombed in the same year.

The two men were convicted at the Old Bailey in 1985 of three murders during 1981 and given five life sentences each.

They were released in March 1999 after the Good Friday Agreement augmented the release of many high profile IRA figures.

Today, a spokeswoman for Comic Relief said the charity's co-founder, Richard Curtis, and chief executive Kevin Cahill would be in talks over the issue.

She said: "When we make as many grants as we do there will always be the odd one that needs further examination.

"We will be looking into the Tar Isteach project and will take any necessary remedial steps."

The spokeswoman insisted that all the projects funded by Comic Relief were carefully vetted before being approved by the charity's trustees.

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