Belfast Telegraph

New Zealand massacre: Northern Ireland understands what you are going through, says sister of woman shot dead by IRA while leaving church

Ann Travers
Ann Travers

A woman whose sister was murdered by the IRA while leaving church has said many people in Northern Ireland understand what the families of those killed in the Christchurch mosque shootings are going through.

Ann Travers' 22-year-old sister Mary was shot dead and her father seriously injured in an IRA gun attack as the family left Mass at St Brigid's Church in south Belfast on April 8, 1984.  Ms Travers' father Tom, who was a prominent magistrate, was shot multiple times.

Ms Travers took to social media after at least 49 people were killed in New Zealand in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers. One man is to appear in court charged with murder.

Ms Travers' posting on Twitter, said: "To those of us who lived through terrorism in Northern Ireland understand what you are going through. Many of our loved ones lost their lives while leaving churches, in churches and services of remembrances. Thoughts prayers and support are with you all."

Many victims of the Troubles were targeted by paramilitaries when attending church services.

In Darkley, Co Armagh, three gunmen attacked worshippers attending a church service at Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church, killing three Protestant civilians and wounding seven. The gunmen were members of the INLA.

A book of condolence has been opened in Belfast in tribute to those killed in the attack. There has been widespread condemnation of the attack with the Queen leading tributes.

MLA Doug Beattie described it as an "absolutely appalling horror".

"An evil white supremacist terrorist has stolen the lives of so many innocent people. Thoughts with their families," he said.

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill expressed her sympathy and condemned the attack.

"Today, at this tragic time our thoughts are with the families and communities of all those killed and injured, the emergency services and the people of Christchurch and New Zealand," she said.

A police officer at a cordon near a mosque in central Christchurch (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
A police officer at a cordon near a mosque in central Christchurch (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch
Police attempt to clear people from outside a mosque in central Christchurch (Mark Baker/AP)

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