Belfast Telegraph

IRA's McKee never faced justice over my father's death: claim

Republican: Billy McKee
Republican: Billy McKee

By Staff Reporter

The daughter of a man murdered by the IRA in east Belfast in 1970 has said IRA chief Billy McKee had "escaped justice" for her father's death 49 years ago this weekend

Mary McCurrie's father James McCurrie was one of three people killed on the Newtownards Road in June 1970 by an IRA gang led by McKee.

Mr McCurrie (44) was shot dead during what republicans know as the defence of St Matthew's Catholic church.

He had been returning from a night out at a social club on the Albertbridge Road with friends when he was killed.

The violence lasted about five hours. Three people died including Mr McCurrie, and at least 26 people were wounded.

Another three people had been killed earlier that day in north Belfast.

In a letter published in Saturday's News Letter, Mary McCurrie said "my father was one of the innocent unarmed men murdered by Billy McKee and those he commanded".

"In a pre-planned and unprovoked attack, and using the grounds of St Matthew's Roman Catholic chapel to hide in, the IRA - commanded by Billy McKee - opened fire on unarmed innocent people on the Newtownards Road area of East Belfast. Two innocent unarmed men were murdered," she wrote.

Ms McCurrie hit out at tributes that had been paid to the IRA man after his death aged 97 just over two weeks ago.

"The IRA terrorist known as Billy McKee has been described as a man of honour and true to himself.

"Men of honour do not support the wholesale murder of innocent unarmed people and the planting of bombs," Ms McCurrie wrote.

"The legacy he left is a generation of Irish Republicans that honour wholesale slaughter and are true to the evil that resides within them" she wrote.

"Billy McKee escaped justice in this world, but justice waited for him.

"The truth will survive."

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