Newry.ie

A massive attendance at the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre last week for The Bomb and Bullet Legacy, meant that many had to remain outside, with the door of the auditorium open so they could here those speaking.

Having visited the Mansion House in Dublin the previous night it proved an extremely tough listen for the Newry audience but the stories need to be told.

The speakers told the story of an incredibly difficult time in our past, a time filled with contradictions, where individuals who's charge it was to protect you, conspired to harm you. Where a Catholic RUC officer probably wouldn't have been killed if he had been a Protestant, where 'investigations' became cover ups and the 'truth' is perhaps not the truth!

What was clear to see on the night was that all the speakers want is the full truth behind the killings, something that has eluded them to date.

Speakers at The Bomb and Bullet Legacy in Sean Hollywood Arts Centre Pictured are speakers from left: Alan McBride, Stephen Travers, Trevor Ringland, Eugene Reavey, Rory McShane and Joe Campbell  . Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Speakers at The Bomb and Bullet Legacy in Sean Hollywood Arts Centre Pictured are speakers from left: Alan McBride, Stephen Travers, Trevor Ringland, Eugene Reavey, Rory McShane and Joe Campbell . Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

The event presented in association with Newry Inter-Church Forum was chaired by Stephen Travers a survivor of the Miami Showband massacre. Speakers included Eugene Reavey, who's three brothers were murdered at home in Whitecross; Alan McBride who's wife was murdered in the Shankill Road bomb in 1993; Joe Campbell whose father Sgt Joseph Campbell was murdered in 1977 in Cushendall; Former Irish Rugby player, Trevor Ringland and Newry Solicitor Rory McShane.

Reavey Brother Murders

Eugene Reavey spoke of the night the lives of his Mother and Father, their eight sons and four daughters were changed forever.

Speaking about the time Eugene said "Times were good, we were all working. My father made sure we were up half six, seven every morning, away to work. Then the troubles started and my father he always made sure that we didn't get involved in any paramilitaries or politics or anything like that. In fact all that was ever talked about in our house was football and girlfriends"

That all changed on the Fourth of January 1976. "Just after Christmas '75, decorations were still up in the house. Normally we would go home on a Sunday afternoon and there would be sometimes 30 or 40 people in that house. It was a Ceili house, but some people maybe driving past maybe got a notion that there was something else going on, it's very difficult to know." says Eugene.

Rory McShane speaking at The Bomb and Bullet Legacy, Truth and Reconcilliation Platform tonight in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. There wasn't enough room in the auditorium so people sat outside. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Rory McShane speaking at The Bomb and Bullet Legacy, Truth and Reconcilliation Platform in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. There wasn't enough room in the auditorium so people sat outside. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

When the gunmen burst in that Sunday there was just three of the boys at home, John Martin, 24; Brian, 22 and Anthony 17. They were all sitting watching Celebrity Squares just after the 6 O'Clock news when the gun attack happened. A gunman fired 43 bullets into John Martin "He was sitting at the fire and he finished up like a rag doll on the floor"

"Brian and Anthony tried to get into the room and Brian was shot in the back. A bullet went through his back, out through his heart, and Anthony the youngest, he run up and dived under the second bed in the room and the gunman followed him up and he stood on the bed and he riddled the bed with a machine gun, and when he thought Anthony was dead he left the room and went back up into the kitchen and shot off all the other doors in the kitchen looking for the rest of us"

Anthony crawled over to his neighbours and raised the alarm. He was taken to hospital where he stayed for ten days before getting home to recuperate. Found unconscious later that month he was taken to Daisy Hill Hospital and then the Royal Victoria where he died 30th January.

The day after the shooting the family were on their way back from Daisy Hill, the two Coffins in front, when they were stopped by soldiers. They took them out of the car and put a gun to Eugene's back.

In the car in front Eugene's mother Sadie was taunted and horribly abused by a soldier at the side of the road, the same woman who lit candles and prayed for the "men that shot my three sons"

Eugene Reavey speaking at The Bomb and Bullet Legacy, Truth and Reconcilliation Platform tonight in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Eugene Reavey speaking at The Bomb and Bullet Legacy, Truth and Reconcilliation Platform in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Eugene says "My mother rared a big house full of boys and at the moment she needed us most there wasn't one of us could lift a finger to help her! And that has haunted me all my life, that I wasn't man enough to hit thon Ba***** a dig in the gob"

Reaching Out

Answering a question, Alan McBride spoke of the need to reach out "If I was a Unionist and I wanted to reach out the hand of friendship to Nationalists, I'd absolutely have an Irish Language Act in the morning" and from another perspective he added "If I was an Irish Nationalist and I was looking at a Unionist sitting across the table from me I would say, do you know what, we want you to be part of our community, we welcome you, we value you and we will do what we can to make sure that your culture, your tradition and your rights are absolutely respected."

Not One Blade of Grass

Reflecting on the past as well as the future Joe Campbell whose father Sgt Joseph Campbell was murdered in 1977 in Cushendall added "There isn't one blade of grass from this island from the top to the bottom that is worth taking one life for"

Pin It

DONATE

Please consider supporting Newry.ie

Amount:
Newry.ie require Cookies on some parts of our site to enable full functionality. By using Newry.ie you consent to our use of Cookies. You can use your browser settings to disable cookies on this or any other website.
More information Ok