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Families vow to get justice on 30th anniversary of Ormeau Road bookies atrocity

The long-awaited Police Ombudsman report into the shooting will be given to families on Monday.

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Relatives of the victims of the Ormeau Road bookies atrocity mark the 30th anniversary of the attack (David Young/PA)

Relatives of the victims of the Ormeau Road bookies atrocity mark the 30th anniversary of the attack (David Young/PA)

Relatives of the victims of the Ormeau Road bookies atrocity mark the 30th anniversary of the attack (David Young/PA)

Families of the victims of the Ormeau Road bookies atrocity have vowed to get justice on the 30th anniversary of the killings.

Saturday marked three decades since loyalist paramilitaries in the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) opened fire in Sean Graham’s bookmakers, killing five civilians and wounding another nine.

The anniversary had a special significance this year, as the long-awaited Police Ombudsman report into the shooting, probing police misconduct, will be given to families on Monday, before it is published on Tuesday.

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The 30th anniversary of the 1992 Sean Graham’s bookmakers atrocity on Ormeau Road in Belfast (David Young/PA)

The 30th anniversary of the 1992 Sean Graham’s bookmakers atrocity on Ormeau Road in Belfast (David Young/PA)

PA

The 30th anniversary of the 1992 Sean Graham’s bookmakers atrocity on Ormeau Road in Belfast (David Young/PA)

Bereaved relatives addressed the hundreds who gathered on Saturday near the bookies where the massacre took place and said they will only be satisfied if the report delivers a finding of collusion between the paramilitaries and British security forces.

Bosco Kennedy, whose brother James was 15 when he was killed in the shooting, has vowed families will get justice.

“On Monday we want the truth to come out, the truth that there was collusion. We know there was collusion,” he told the PA news agency.

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“The people that committed that horrendous crime 30 years ago, we want the people who put the guns in their hands and allowed them to act with impunity and never face prosecution, we want them to face justice when this report comes out.”

Asked if he thought the families will get justice, Mr Kennedy replied: “Yes we will. We will pursue justice and we will pursue justice with all the families together.”

He said his brother James was “an unbelievable guy”.

He added: “He was the second of five brothers. He was the funny one. He was the one who was outgoing, more so than me.”

He said this year’s commemoration was “one of sadness, it’s one of grief”.

“See, every single anniversary it brings it round, it makes it fresher” he added.

“But it makes you stronger, to keep going and try to get the truth of what happened that day 30 years ago.”

Several relatives of those killed addressed the large crowds that assembled in Ormeau Road on Saturday.

A priest led the crowd in prayer, saying the rosary.

A relative of each of the five who were murdered walked to the wall of the bookies, where photos of the victims hung, standing underneath holding lit candles.

They were joined by relatives of five of the seven who were injured, who have since died.

A man played a lament on a tin whistle, which was followed by a minutes silence.

Several doves were released into the air, to remember those killed and injured in the attack.

Families laid bouquets of flowers by the wall of the bookies.

A number of politicians attended, including Sinn Fein communities minister Deirdre Hargey and SDLP MP Claire Hanna.

Controversy marred last year’s anniversary, when police challenged those attending amid suspicions the size of the public gathering breached coronavirus regulations.


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