Catholic teenager Damien Walsh died at the hands of loyalist terrorists in West Belfast on the same day that Tim Parry died at the hands of the IRA in Warrington.

But while Tim Parry’s name was thrust back into the spotlight of terror after the Manchester Arena bombings this week, few people talked about Damien Walsh. Or even remember him.

“But we’ll never forget him,” says Damien’s mother Marian (63) as she still struggles to cope with the raw emotion of the memories of the day in March 1993 that changed the lives of her entire family for ever.

She says: “Damien was the middle one of my five children and he was extremely boisterous.

“But since he died, my house has gone very quiet. It’s like living in a graveyard. With him gone, it’s as if everybody died, too.”

Damien (17) was shot up to six times in the back by a UFF gunman as he worked late one night on a Youth Training Programme in what was known as the Coal Bunker at the back of a supermarket at the Dairy Farm shopping centre near Twinbrook.

And although 24 years have passed, Mrs Walsh is still trying to establish the truth about the killing, which was admitted by Johnny Adair’s ruthless “C” Company within the UFF. In the wake of the murder, there’s been a slew of allegations about collusion, informers, Army surveillance teams and cover-ups, but Mrs Walsh is still awaiting a report from the Police Ombudsman about the RUC investigation into the murder of her son, who didn’t fit the teenage stereotypes of the 1990s.

He wasn’t a sporty type and he would often go bird-watching during the day in Colin Glen forest before engaging in his nocturnal pastime of DJ-ing.

“He was a real character, who was very good at drawing. And he was getting on really well at the Coal Bunker. Everybody knew him and liked him. He’d also just started to discover girls, too.

“It was only later on that I found out that he shouldn’t have been working that night, but changed shifts so that he could take a girl to the cinema the next evening,” says Mrs Walsh, who was told about the shooting by two people who witnessed the attack and rushed to her house in Poleglass.

“The police never came near me. But I went straight to the City Hospital with the two strangers who came to my door.”

At the hospital Mrs Walsh found information hard to come by. She feared the worst, but hoped that maybe the victim wasn’t her son, though she didn’t wish ill on anyone else.

“Eventually, the staff took me to the relatives’ room and that rang alarm bells, because I’d worked at the Royal Victoria Hospital and I knew that you only went there if things were bad.

“They told me I couldn’t see Damien, because the doctors were working on him. I was praying that he would pull through and then I heard that he’d had the Last Rites and my whole world fell apart.

“I’d been screaming that I wanted to see Damien, but my parish priest blocked the door. It was terrible. I eventually got up the corridor and I was crying.”

In her innocence Mrs Walsh thought she would have to take Damien home there and then, but a nurse said they would look after him and get an undertaker.

“It was then that I realised I would have to tell my other children what had happened and I got a lift home.

“It was awful telling them. It’s still with me.

“The police rang and asked me to go to Woodburn barracks to give a statement, but my brother told them they should be coming to see me.

“They didn’t arrive until 48 hours later, when they wanted to know if there would be paramilitary trappings with the funeral, which was ridiculous, but Damien was never involved with anything like that.”

In the years since Damien died, it’s been confirmed that the Army did have the Dairy Farm complex under observation, because an IRA informer had passed on information about an arms dump in a different part of the centre from where Damien was working. Yet despite the Army operation, the killers were able to get to and from Dairy Farm without challenge and Mrs Walsh says she has been told that an erroneous description of the gunmen’s car was circulated in the aftermath of the attack.

Police sources say they know the identity of the killers, but didn’t have enough evidence to put them behind bars.

Mrs Walsh says that just months after Damien’s murder, the IRA shot dead one of their former members, Joe Mulhern, who they claimed was a tout. His killing now forms part of the investigation into the activities of the double agent, Freddie Scappaticci, aka “Stakeknife”.

Mrs Walsh’s grief has been compounded by the fact that the Police Ombudsman still won’t give her the report into Damien’s killing.

She says:”I don’t know what the hold-up is, but maybe it’s because of all the intrigue involved in the case. I may have to go to court to force the Ombudsman’s hand.”

It’s been alleged that the security forces colluded with the killers who dumped their getaway car in the Andersonstown area, an unusual move for the UFF who had stolen the vehicle in the Shankill.

After news broke about the Manchester bombing and the deaths of so many children and young people, Mrs Walsh says she couldn’t help thinking back to the day of Damien’s passing.

She says: “That was the same day that Tim Parry passed away from the injuries he sustained five days earlier in the Warrington blast, which was shocking, too.

“At Damien’s funeral Mass, we prayed for Tim and the other boy who was killed, Johnathan Ball.

“There were planeloads of flowers sent to Warrington from Dublin. But I got nothing from anywhere.

“It was just such a marked difference.”

Damien Walsh’s uncle, Dr Sean Loughlin, a university professor in Rotherham, echoed Mrs Walsh’s sentiments in a letter to newspapers at the time, saying: “The purpose of this letter is not to score points, but to make a point: every single life is precious”.

With many thanks to: The Simple Truth for the original story

Today we remember Manus Deery on his 47th Anniversary, was aged 15-years-old when he was murdered by the British Army on 19th May 1972

47th Anniversary today of our Manus,may he be with me Ma & Da and his brothers & sister in Heaven

Happy 60th Birthday moka At last ye can rest easy , love ye xxx

Manus Deery Photo credit: Colm McCarthy

With many thanks to: Helen Deery and Justice For Manus Deery for the original posting

Follow these links to find out more on Manus Deery: https://seachranaidhe1.blog/2013/07/08/british-army-admits-unjustified-murder-of-manus-derry/

(2)-: http://www.colmmccarthy.com/blog/art/killed-2/

The Scandal of Hidden State Files on Murdered Children

We were shocked when our colleagues in the Pat Finucane Centre told us that they have found that files at Kew National Archives referring to the killings of two children killed by plastic bullets exist but cannot be accessed.

This first file is on Paul Whitters, pictured above, murdered by the RUC during the Hunger Strikes in 1981 aged 15. It was closed until 2059
The second file is on Julie Livingston, murdered by the British Army during the Hunger strikes in May 1981, aged 14. It is closed until 2064

Tonight the family of Julie Livingstone has written to the Secretary of State Karen Bradley requesting a meeting for their family and the family of Paul Whitters. The following is that text of that letter.

Dear Secretary of State,

We are writing to you in relation to a file held in the British National Archives, which refers to the killing of our beautiful, much loved and sorely missed little sister Julie Livingstone in 1981. This file is marked closed until 2064. 83 years after her killing.

Julie was 14 years old when a British army soldier shot her in the head on 13th May 1981. We have seen neither a legally compliant investigation nor due process for that crime. From the moment of her death our parents fought for accountability and for the end of the use of plastic bullets. They were both to pass away without seeing either.

The British government murder innocent Irish children and then try and cover it up under the ‘Secret States Act’

Having spoken with representatives of the family of young Paul Whitters, also killed a plastic bullet, fired by the RUC, we are aware that they too have written to you in relation to that file being hidden for decades.

May we firstly state that we find it inconceivable that these files are held in secret. There is surely no greater public interest than in state papers held in relation to the killing of children by the state. Secondly that the files are being withheld from our family until 2064 is cruel and inhumane and constitutes a form of continuing torture not to mention cover-up. By that date not only will Julie’s parents have passed away, her siblings will also be very unlikely to be afforded the opportunity to read them.

It is notable that the Freedom of Information decision date was 2019. This decision was made while families are actively seeking information in relation to conflict killings. It appears that the archives were trawled in search of files the British state feels should be secreted from public view, ie those files that involve culpability from the British state. This is cynical and speaks to a desire to hide the truth, and impede accountability.

Secretary of State, your comments at the beginning of this year in relation to state killings, were an affront to our family. This decision by the National Archive compounds those words.

We wish to request that you act urgently to redress the matter. The relevant files should be given to our family and to the Whitters’ family. We, with the Whitters family, wish to meet with you at your earliest convenience.

Is Mise Le Meas

Elizabeth Livingstone

With many thanks to: Relatives For Justice for the original posting. You can contact them at: info@relativesforjustice.com

Follow these links to find out more about the British State murder of innocent children: http://belfastmediagroup.com/julie-file-locked-for-45-more-years/

(2) – https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/why-is-a-file-on-the-killing-of-a-derry-teen-by-plastic-bullet-so-secret-1.3860309

Follow this link to find out more: https://seachranaidhe1.blog/2017/05/19/in-memory-of-all-the-children-murdered-by-britain-in-ireland-r-i-p/amp/

Martha Campbell, a 13-year-old Catholic girl, was shot dead by the British Army Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy, Belfast on 14th of May 1972

Martha Campbell murdered by the British Army 14th May 1972

No enquiry, nor investigation has ever taken place surrounding the circumstances of Martha’s tragic death.

About 8.15pm on Sunday May 14, 1972, Martha, was walking along Springhill Crescent, Ballymurphy with her friend, they were on their way to visit another friend who lived in Springhill Crescent. The previous day had seen an explosion at Kelly’s Bar, on the Whiterock Road, Belfast, and widespread trouble had followed, involving the security forces, loyalist and republican paramilitaries, all firing at each other from different locations.

However, during the time Martha was shot, there had been no gunfire for a the few hours previous. Martha noticed a man in the street she knew and started to walk towards him. The shooting began and the man called out to her to lie down, but Martha continued walking towards him. When Martha got within a few feet of the man, a single shot rang out and Martha fell to the ground. She was taken to a nearby house and a volunteer from the St Johns Ambulance service administered first aid and called for an ambulance. Martha was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where she was certified as being dead on arrival.

With many thanks to the: James Connolly Association, Brisbane, Australia for the original story

Follow this link to find out more about the British Army Parachute Regiment: https://seachranaidhe1.blog/2019/05/13/ballymurphy-former-paratrooper-says-soldiers-were-out-of-control/

Family of teen murdered by UVF in 1973 launch legal action against MOD

Henry Cunningham was killed when 16 years old. Here he is aged 10.

 

The family of a Co Donegal teenager murdered by loyalists 46 years ago has started High Court action over suspected security force collusion surrounding his killing. Henry Cunningham, 16, was shot dead in August 1973 when UVF gunmen ambushed a van in which he was traveling home. His brothers, Robert and Herbert, we’re also amount workmen of mixed religion in the vehicle on the M2 near Randalstown, Co Antrim. They are suing the MoD after it emerged that a weapon used in the killing had been stolen from an army base. As the case came before the High Court in Belfast for the first time, Robert Cunningham traveled from his home in Carndonagh to attend the hearing. An emotional Mr Cunningham insisted the family want answers to the circumstances which led to his brother’s murder.

◾ ARMY WEAPONS: Robert and Herbert Cunningham at a press conference in 2014

“There was never a proper inquest and we feel that we have been let down by our own [Irish] government,” the 66-year-old said outside court. “What really annoys me is that the authorities north and South would let my mother and father go to their graves without an investigation. Nobody did anything.” No-one has ever been prosecuted for his brother’s murder. Weeks after the teenager died an inquest was held, returning an open verdict.

‘Authorities north and south would let my mother and father go to their graves without an investigation – Robert Cunningham

In 2008, an Historical Enquiries Team (HE) report said that one of the guns had been stolen from a UDR base in Lurgan, Co Armagh. Backed by a lobby group The Pat Finucane Centre, the Cunningham’s are suing the MoD for alleged misfeasance in public office and negligence. They claim the defendant  was aware that guns under its control were being lost or stolen but failed to take any action.

Papers lodged in the case further allege the MoD knew or suspected that UDR personal were involved in taking weapons they could be used by loyalist terror groups. The case was adjourned amid attempts to secure further discovery of relevant documents. Outside court Mr Cunningham Cunningham’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, said: “Without documents families alleging state collusion can’t begin to get any form of Justice for their loved ones. “Today is the first step for the Cunningham family to get discovery of MoD material that will hopefully provide answers to the murder of their brother nearly half a century ago.” Paul O’Connor from the Pat Finucane Centre said: “This family is taking a challenge to the massive failure of the Ministry of Defense’s duty of care to keep their weapons safe.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story

GAA official Sean Brown remembered on 22nd anniversary

Sean Brown was shot dead by the LVF in May 1977

 

The family of murdered GAA official Sean Brown are pressing ahead with legal action to force the PSNI to hand over information relevant to the case.

The 61-year-old was abducted by the LVF as he locked the gates at Bellaghy Wolfe Tones GAC 22 years ago tomorrow.

He was driven to a country lane outside Randalstown in Co Antrim where he was shot six times.

His remains were later found beside his burning car.

No-one has ever been charged in connection with his death, which sent shockwaves throughout the GAA world.

Despite the passing of 22 years and more than 25 preliminary hearings, a full inquest has yet to be held.

A father-of-six, Mr Brown was known as a committed family man and at the time of his death was chairman of the Bellaghy GAA club.

The family’s solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said a civil action launched by the family three years ago to force the PSNI to hand over relevant information remains on course.

“The family’s collusion civil action remains before the High Court and is set to resume on an outstanding application to get discovery of documents not yet made available,” he said.

“The legal developments come at a poignant time given the anniversary of Sean’s killing.”

Mr Winters said that another preliminary inquest hearing is scheduled for later this month.

The latest listing comes after a recent announcement that resources will be made available for more than 50 outstanding legacy inquests.

“Like many families the Brown family were despairing on whether or not they were ever going to see the inquest resumed,” he said.

“With this announcement there is a bit of hope that we will get some traction now but the family remain very cautious on the development and will reserve their full position until we see what exactly is proposed.”

With many thanks to the: Irish News and Connla Young for the original story

 

Anniversary of ‘Trooper’ murder is to be marked

COMMEMORATION: Paul Thompson’s brother Eugene says his family deserves a fresh inquest

RELATIVES for Justice is to host a commemoration to mark the 25th anniversary of Paul ‘Topper’ Thompson, murdered by loyalists in a shooting local people are convinced was an act of collusion.

The 25-year-old was shot dead by the UDA in a car in Springfield Park on April 27, 1994.

A wall separating Springfield Park and the loyalist Springmartin estate had been breached before the murder. The playwright Brenda Murphy, who lived on the street at the time, had informed both the NIO and the RUC that the wall was breached and distributed leaflets alerting residents to the danger.

However, both the NIO and RUC ignored her calls. Later that night, Paul Thompson had accompanied a taxi driver friend after he was called to pick up a fare in Springfield Park, where the vehicle was attacked.

He died in the arms of Brenda Murphy, who had earlier raised concerns about the breached wall.

An inquest into the killing was later abandoned after Ms Murphy produced recorded evidence of her calls to the NIO and RUC.

A community inquest held some years later, which was chaired by American judge Andy Summers, found that the RUC had failed to act on the warning.

The killing has long been seen as further evidence of state collusion with loyalists.

The commemoration will assemble at the Springfield Park/Springfield Road at 2pm tomorrow (Saturday).

Speaking ahead of the event, Paul’s brother Eugene Thompson said: “Paul’s murder happened after the fence on Springfield Park was deliberately left open.

The RUC took a calculated risk by leaving it open and the gunmen waited in relative safety. The security cameras on the nearby barracks were switched off before the shooting, and there was no attempt to apprehend or pursue Paul’s killers.

The weapon used to kill Paul was part of an arms cache brought in from South Africa with the help of the British state.

“The original inquest into Paul’s murder was never concluded despite uncovering the lies of the NIO and the RUC. As a family, we deserve a fresh inquest.”

With many thanks to the: Andersontown News and Michael Jackson for the original story