The family of a Catholic taxi driver gunned down outside a Co Tyrone snooker club seven years ago today vowed they will not give up their fight to bring his killers to justice.
Brian (Barney) McDonald, a father-of-eight from Dungannon, was shot dead after being lured to the snooker club at Annaghbeg Park in Donaghmore on April 17, 2002.
Mr McDonald had gone to pick up what turned out to be a bogus fare. As he stopped outside the club gunmen fired four shotgun blasts into his taxi, killing the 51-year-old instantly.
In the first three years of the investigation 216 statements were taken, 209 items seized for examination and two premises searched.
Two men were arrested and questioned about the murder but were later released without charge, and no-one has been convicted in connection with the killing.
Today, on the seventh anniversary of Mr McDonald’s death, his sister Margaret O’Donnell urged the public to help put the “ruthless cowards” who carried out the brutal execution behind bars.
“We believe that there are people who know exactly how and why Brian was murdered,” she said.
“We urge anyone who has any knowledge or information about the murder and the circumstances surrounding it to come forward and help.”
Tonight the family will mark the anniversary of Barney’s murder with Mass in St Patrick’s Church in Dungannon, and they have vowed not to give up their fight for justice.
The family now believe that the names of the suspected perpetrators were passed on to detectives in the days and weeks after the murder, and they have asked those callers to again come forward.
They also believe that those involved would have been known to Mr McDonald.
Ms O’Donnell said she hoped that with the passing of time people might find it in their hearts to come forward with vital information.
“People change, their thinking is different, their allegiances change, friends drift apart and relationships break down,” she added.
“Maybe there are some of you out there who are in this very situation who know something about someone who was involved in the murder of Brian, who would like to clear their conscience, or find it in their heart to tell what they know so these ruthless cowards can be put where they belong.
“It is never too late to do the right thing and help bring justice to a still grieving family.”
Anyone with information should contact police in Dungannon on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.