Belfast Telegraph

Woman speaks of devastation of brothers' IRA killings to keep their memories alive

Pam Morrison. Pic BBC
Pam Morrison. Pic BBC

A Lisnaskea woman who lost three brothers in separate IRA attacks within six years has spoken for the first time of how their deaths devastated her family.

Pam Morrison said she wanted to speak out so that they would be remembered.

Brothers and part-time UDR men Ronnie, Cecil and Jimmy Graham were all killed in County Fermanagh attacks in the 1980s.  

All three were off duty when they were attacked and no one has ever been convicted of the killings.

A sister - Hilary who was also in the UDR died in 1979, aged 27, years after being hit by a car while she manned a checkpoint.

Pam Morrison said she never knew why her family was targeted and it was lonely being the sole surviving member of her family.

She said the deaths left her father a "broken man" and she remembered each of her siblings' deaths as if they were yesterday.

"You didn't know where to turn, who to talk to or anything else," she told the BBC.

"It was... really devastating for the family and to their wives and to the youngsters that they left behind."

"That memory is always with you and the older you get the more you want your family."

Cecil Graham.
Cecil Graham.

Mrs Morrison said that she had previously kept details of her family tragedy "all to myself".

"You kept going on from day to day and that was it," she said.

Mrs Morrison said that being left as the last surviving member of the family had prompted her to speak out about the unimaginable loss.

"Who else is going to remember them unless I say something about it," she said.

Mrs Morrison said she was resigned to never seeing their killers brought to justice saying her faith had helped her cope.

"Retaliation is not going to be any good to anyone - it's just going to leave more hurt in the community," she said.

Ronnie Graham.
Ronnie Graham.

"It's your faith that carries you through that and you don't want the like of that to happen (to) any other family."

She said she had never come to terms with the reason the IRA targeted her family.

"I just could never understand why it was the one family that was targeted so much," she said.

In June 1981 Lance Corporal Ronnie Graham was the first of the brothers to be killed, he was ambushed aged 39 while delivering groceries for a local shop.

He left behind two children.

Private Cecil Graham was killed after he was spotted entering the property where his Catholic wife and newborn son were staying, and was shot 16 times as soon as he stepped outside in the early hours of November 10, 1981.

Jimmy Graham.
Jimmy Graham.

The 32-year-old died in hospital the day after the horrific attack

Private Jimmy Graham (39) was killed while driving a school bus in Derrylin in 1985. He had two children aged 11 and 15.

An attempt had been made on his life in 1980, but he managed to fight off his would-be assassins and later received a medal.

But they returned on February 1, 1984 and fired a total of 26 bullets into his body as he arrived in the school bus he drove to collect children from a Derrylin primary school and take them to the local swimming pool.

The three murders were widely interpreted locally as "ethnic cleansing" of Protestants by the IRA.

Pam's nephew Darren Graham went on to become a well-known Protestant GAA player.

Darren Graham in his GAA kit
Darren Graham in his GAA kit

He was only five weeks old when his father Cecil was shot dead.

Darren, now in his late 30s, was at the centre of controversy within the GAA when he was forced to quit football and hurling in 2007 due to sectarian abuse.

He left the field during a game between his club side, Lisnaskea Emmets and Brookeborough in April 2007 after being abused.

At the time he said it was a regular occurance.

Mr Graham later returned to the game after receiving an apology from the Fermanagh County Board.

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