Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Greysteel victim tells of her 'hurt and anger'

AS the Greysteel killers walk free from prison today, one of their victims spoke of her "hurt and anger" at their release.

AS the Greysteel killers walk free from prison today, one of their victims spoke of her "hurt and anger" at their release.

Rose Fahey, who was badly injured in the 1993 Rising Sun shooting, said she could never forgive the UFF gang responsible for the atrocity.

Mrs Fahey said she believed the killers should have served longer sentences.

"Seven years in prison was not enough of a penance," she said.

Many people are still struggling to come to terms with the massacre of eight people in the quiet Co Londonderry village.

And Mrs Fahey said the release of the gang responsible for the horrific murders would reopen many old wounds.

"The shooting devastated the entire community, both Catholics and Protestants." Torrens Knight, Jeffrey Deeney and Stephen Irwin carried out one of the most shocking atrocities of the Troubles on October 30, 1993.

The trio, along with Brian McNeill, who has already been released, targeted the pub in revenge for the Shankill bombing the previous weekend.

Just before 10pm, an Opel Kadette, stolen earlier that day in Derry and driven by Knight, pulled up outside the bar.

Irwin and Deeney - armed with an AK47 and a handgun - entered the pub, which was packed with revellers enjoying a Halloween party. The killers stood at the door before Irwin shouted: "Trick or treat." One victim, Karen Thompson (19) told him: "That isn't funny", before she was shot dead at close range.

Seven others died: Karen Thompson's 20-year-old boyfriend Steven Mullan; James Moore (81); the father of the bar's owner, Joseph McDermott (60); Maura Duddy (59); John Moyne (50) and former UDR soldier John Burns (54).

Samuel Montgomery (76) died the following April after blood clots from a leg wound spread to his lungs.

The death toll could have been much worse had Deeney's handgun not jammed during the shooting. Mrs Fahey, who was shot in the shoulder and leg, said she was forced to move from Greysteel after the shooting.

"There were too many memories there and I was unable to sleep at night." She said she was prepared to "live and let live" for the sake of her grandchildren.

"I reared my family all through the Troubles and I am sure I am not the only one tired of it all.

"But I will always be aware of the fact they are out there and that is very frightening." Fr Stephen Kearney, parish priest in Greysteel at the time of the killings, said the victims' families had dreaded today.

"There is still a deep sense of loss that has not left the families.

"The publicity surrounding the release of the prisoners is liable to do more damage," said Fr Kearney, who has since moved to Newtownstewart parish in Tyrone.

Greysteel councillor John McKinney admitted that the release of the UFF gang was difficult for many local people to cope with. "At the time of their conviction, people thought that after committing such a brutal attack these people would serve the full term of their sentence.

"There is a sense of anger and hurt that they have now been let out." Mr McKinney stressed that Greysteel had always enjoyed good cross-community relations.

And he held up the village as an example to the rest of Northern Ireland.

"The people of Greysteel have coped with the Rising Sun tragedy with a lot of dignity," he said.

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