Belfast Telegraph

Service to mark 10th anniversary of the Greysteel massacre

By Ciaran O'Neill coneill@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

RELATIVES of the victims of the Rising Sun shootings in 1993 will gather tonight for an emotional service to mark the 10th anniversary of the massacre.

RELATIVES of the victims of the Rising Sun shootings in 1993 will gather tonight for an emotional service to mark the 10th anniversary of the massacre.

Seven people died when two UFF gunmen opened fire as customers in the bar in the Co Londonderry village of Greysteel enjoyed a Halloween party on October 30, 1993. An eighth victim died a short time later.

Eleven people were also injured in the attack which the UFF claimed was in revenge for the Shankill bombing a week earlier in which ten were killed.

A special service will take place at Star of the Sea Church in Greysteel tonight in memory of those killed. A short prayer service will also be held outside the Rising Sun bar.

Among those attending the church service will be a number of people who lost loved ones in the Shankill bomb.

The two areas have built strong links in the wake of the attacks ten years ago.

Mina Wardle, of the Shankill Stress Group, which offers support for those affected by the 1993 bomb, said people wanted to show their support for the families of those killed in the Rising Sun attack.

"The people who carried out the attack claimed that they did it on behalf of the people of the Shankill," she said.

"They did not and it was an awful attack. A number of people from the Shankill will be travelling to the service to show the people of Greysteel that we care."

The Greysteel and Shankill attacks marked one of the darkest periods in the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Fears of a loyalist backlash rose when the UDA warned after the Shankill bomb: "John Hume, Gerry Adams and the nationalist electorate will pay a heavy, heavy price for today's atrocity."

That price came in the form of the shootings at the quiet Derry bar.

Two hundred people were in the bar when one of the UFF gang walked into the premises armed with an AK-47 rifle and shouted 'trick or treat'.

A young woman told him that his remark was not funny, before the gunman fired more than 40 shots around the bar.

The other gunman's pistol jammed after firing one shot.

Among those killed were James Moore, father of the bar's owner, and a young engaged couple, Stephen Mullan and Karen Thompson.

The four-man UFF gang, Stephen Irwin, Jeffrey Deeney, Torrens Knight, Brian McNeill, abandoned their getaway vehicle a short distance away but left vital clues after unsuccessfully trying to burn the car.

They were all sentenced to life imprisonment for the attack but were released as a result of the Good Friday Agreement.

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