• December 15, 2014


The Celtic League have written to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence asking when it will release forty year old files on Operation Pagoda which covered the deployment and use of CR Gas in Ulster in the 1970s.

CR was allegedly used in both public order situations and also to quell a protest involving republican prisoners at Long Kesh prison in the 1970s. CR is a much more carcinogenic riot control agent than the equally unpleasant CS gas.

The issue on when the gas was used and more pertinently where stocks held by the British security forces were disposed of has been raised by the Celtic League over the last decade.

In 2010 the MOD said they were unable to locate records but a check with the UK National Archive indicates unpublished records do exist.

Text of MOD correspondence below:

“The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP
Secretary of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence
Main Building
United Kingdom


Dear Minister,

You will have on file correspondence from the Celtic League seeking elucidation about the use of CR Gas in by the Security Forces in Ulster in the 1970s.

In 2010 your Department told the Celtic League that;

“We have extensively trawled through our records, unfortunately, due to the passage of time we have been unable to locate any official records relating to the retention and destruction of CR gas in Northern Ireland.”

It is clear from a trawl of records at the National Archive that much of the information relating to CR Gas and its usage at that time has still to be published.

I understand for example that despite the peace process now being well established with political institutions via power sharing functioning well now for many years the MOD still stubbornly refuse to release pertinent records.

We note that documents relating to ‘Operation Pagoda’ (use of CR gas – dibenzoxazepine) covering the period January 1973 – December 1977) are still ‘restricted’.

Given that these records refer to events almost 40 years ago it begs the question what has the Ministry of Defence got to hide?

We would urge full publication of these records and any others relating to the use of CR Gas either in public order situations or (as has been alleged) in a disturbance at Long Kesh jail in 1974.

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)”

Related link here on Celtic News main website:


Unfortunately all CL material on this issue is not yet archived for further information email me direct.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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