Belfast Telegraph

Troubles victims gather to tell their stories at Queen's forum

Linda and Kate Nash, Billy McManus, John Teggart, Raymond McCord, Michael Gallagher, John Barry and Michael Monaghan
Linda and Kate Nash, Billy McManus, John Teggart, Raymond McCord, Michael Gallagher, John Barry and Michael Monaghan
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

The brother of a schoolboy shot dead by the IRA has accused his killers of breaking the 1916 Proclamation.

John Teggart's 15-year-old brother Bernard was murdered by the Provisionals in November 1973 - two years after his father Danny was shot dead by British paratroopers in Ballymurphy.

"I have a Proclamation at home. It talks about cherishing all the children of the nation equally," Mr Teggart said.

"How well was Bernard treated as a child, as an Irish citizen? I very much believe in a united Ireland.

"But, as the late Fr Faul said: 'What kind of an Irishman would shoot a young lad with learning difficulties in the head?' Bernard took fits and was on medication at the time he was killed."

Mr Teggart was speaking at a meeting of the Raymond McCord Jnr forum at Queen's University Belfast yesterday.

Other speakers included Billy McManus, whose father Willie was killed in the 1992 UFF gun attack on Sean Graham's bookmakers; Michael Monaghan, whose father-in-law Sean McParland was shot dead by the UVF in 1994; and Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond Jnr was killed by the UVF in 1997.

The event was chaired by Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden died in the 1998 Real IRA bomb in Omagh. Kate and Linda Nash, whose brother Willie was shot dead in 1972 on Bloody Sunday, were among others who attended the event.

Mr Teggart said that their family had been torn apart when their 44-year-old father Danny was shot dead in the Ballymurphy Massacre.

"It was hard for my mother to lose her husband, but for her to then lose a child two years later was absolutely devastating," he said.

Bernard and his twin brother Gerard were in the care of the De La Salle Christian Brothers religious order when they were abducted from St Patrick's Detention Centre in Belfast in November 1973.

They were in the home after getting into trouble while bunking off school. Bernard had been pursued by republican youths earlier that year after being involved in a burglary in New Barnsley.

Mr Teggart said: "Bernard and Gerard were taken from the home to a number of houses where they were interrogated.

"They were finally held in a house in Glengormley with their eyes taped.

"There were a number of men and two women involved.

"Gerard was eventually let go and given the money for the bus home. As he was escorted out of the house, he heard Bernard screaming."

Bernard was found, still alive, with a gunshot wound to the head in the grounds of Belfast Zoo. His hands and feet were bound and a piece of cardboard was pinned to his shirt branding him a 'tout'. He died in hospital.

The IRA did not claim responsibility.

Mr Teggart said: "Our family were as determined to find out the truth about what happened to Bernard as we were about my daddy.

"In 2004 the IRA admitted that they had killed him and apologised. But that was by no means good enough for us.

"They tried to blacken Bernard's name when they killed him. We asked for a full and proper investigation.

"In 2009 the IRA came back to say that Bernard wasn't an informer and there was no evidence to suggest he was.

"As a family in a republican area, this was very important to us, it removed the stigma hanging over us. We were also told that Bernard's murder had been sanctioned and that was hard to take, but we were glad to be told the truth."

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