Belfast Telegraph

Belfast truth rally: 'We're frustrated that we have had to take this to the streets'

By Victoria Leonard

Bereaved families attending yesterday's march spoke of their grief and hurt that they were still seeking answers over their loved ones' deaths decades later.

Jackie Larkin, whose brother Gerard Brady was murdered by the Mount Vernon UVF in 1994, said her family hadn't expected to still be searching for the truth nearly 24 years after his death.

"There is still an open wound in our society - it's a weeping, festering sore," she said.

"It's all very well to say you can't live in the past, but Gerard should have been part of my future.

"All we want is the truth so we can try to move on.

"It might give people hope that they can trust in the State."

Gerry McAnespie's 23-year-old brother Aidan was shot dead by a British soldier as he walked through a border checkpoint in Aughnacloy while heading to a GAA match on February 21, 1988.

Attending the march with his father John (82), Gerry said the family was "fighting a case with the Irish Government to release the 1988 Crowley report into Aidan's killing".

"Last week was the 30th anniversary of Aidan's death," he said.

"The Irish Government is holding back.

"We think all families need the truth to come out, it doesn't matter what religion you are.

"We are frustrated that we have had to take to the streets.

"My sister Eilish and my mum fought for the truth, but they passed away before they could get justice."

Gerry Armstrong, whose 18-year-old brother Paul was killed by the UVF in 1974, said that yesterday's march meant the families' search for truth had "come full circle".

"This is going back to the roots of the Civil Rights Movement," he said.

"This is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement and people are going back out onto the streets."

Pat and Liam Quinn, whose brother Frank was killed by paratroopers in Ballymurphy at the age of 19, said they felt they had been "denied truth and justice".

"We have been campaigning for 40 years," said Liam.

"Our brother was married and had a wee girl, and they were expecting their second child, who he never got to see.

"It's very, very important for us to march."

Pat added: "The legacy funding should have been released long ago."

Patsy Mullan's brother, Father Hugh Mullan, was also killed in the so-called Ballymurphy massacre in 1971.

The 77-year-old said that he had been "waiting a long time" for justice.

"The way he died was particularly callous," he said.

"I think about my brother every day, several times a day.

"All we want is the truth to come out of it and to clear the names of the people involved in Ballymurphy."

Pat Irvine, whose mother Kathleen was killed and her father John injured in the UVF bombing of McGurk's bar, said that the family had lived with "stigma" for 47 years.

The security forces had initially insisted the bomb was as IRA 'own-goal' despite evidence to the contrary.

"We have been fighting vehemently ever since to clear their (the victims') names," she added.

Belfast Telegraph

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