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7 February 2002 Edition

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Black week remembered

The first week in February ten years ago was an awful one, with ten civilians and an IRA Volunteer shot dead and more wounded. In two separate gun attacks in Belfast, one by the UDA, the other by an RUC man, eight people lost their lives. Five Catholics died and many others were injured when a loyalist gang attacked a crowded Sean Graham bookies on the Ormeau Road and three people, two of them Sinn Féin members, died when an RUC man attacked Sinn Féin's offices in Sevastopol Street. North Belfast black taxi driver Pádraig Ó Cléirigh was shot dead in his home on 2 February and the family of Lisburn Catholic Paul Moran, shot dead on 30 January, laid the 32-year-old victim of loyalists to rest. On 6 February, IRA Volunteer Joe MacManus was shot dead on active service in Fermanagh.

This week, in commemorations in Belfast, the relatives, friends and colleagues of the Ormeau Road and Sevastopol Street massacres gathered to remember their loved ones. Ten years on, those dark days of 1992 are hopefully consigned permanently to the past. The peace process has delivered real change and progress, and there is no going back.

At the same time, however, the UDA is still killing, and nationalists still do not have a policing service they can trust to protect them.

The tenth anniversary of these killings and the 30th anniversary of Bloody Sunday remind us of what has been endured. The dignity of the relatives of the dead, and their determination to achieve truth and justice, continue to inspire us.

 

Ormeau Road dead remembered



A large crowd turned out on Tuesday 5 February for the commemoration ceremony to remember those killed by the UDA in the Sean Graham bookies massacre on the Ormeau Road in 1992.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the killings, in which five people died and seven were injured, a new memorial garden was erected on the corner of Hatfield Street below the plaque bearing the names of the dead.

Those who died on that day were Christie Doherty (52), Jack Duffin (67), Willie McManus (54), Peter Magee (18) and James Kennedy (15).

Speaking at the ceremony that, held around 2 o'clock to coincide with the time of the massacre, Patricia Breen from the Lower Ormeau community said the five were "cruelly shot dead for no reason other than they were Catholics, easy targets in a vulnerable community".

Fr Curran from St Malachy's chapel said a decade of the rosary while Canon Peter McCann, who served the Lower Ormeau Road area for years, blessed the new memorial.

 

Plaque unveiled in memory of Sinn Féin Centre dead



Up to 100 people gathered at the Sinn Féin headquarters on the Falls Road on Saturday 2 February to witness the unveiling of a plaque in memory of Paddy Loughran, Pat McBride and Michael O'Dwyer, who were shot dead by an RUC member ten years ago.

The three died in a burst of shotgun blasts when RUC man Allan Moore entered the Sinn Féin headquarters on Tuesday 4 February 1992 and opened fire.

Paddy Loughran and Pat McBride were Sinn Féin members, while Michael O'Dwyer was in the centre to have a constituency matter dealt with. He died as he held his young son, Michael, in his arms.

The RUC man, Allan Moore, a member of the notorious DMSU, was found shot dead by his own hand 15 miles away at Ballinderry on the shores of Lough Neagh.

At the time of his attack on the centre, Moore was being investigated by the RUC. The night before the attack, Moore was found drunk at the grave of an RUC colleague, where he had fired a volley of shots. He was to attend an appointment with a psychiatrist in an RUC barracks in Newtonabbey but failed to do so, instead driving to the Sinn Féin office to carry out his attack.

Two others were wounded that day and one of them, Pat Wilson, who survived despite being critically wounded, unveiled the plaque.

Sinn Féin councillor Tom Hartley gave the main oration while Fra McCann, another Sinn Féin councillor for the area, also spoke.

"Our thoughts at this time are with the families of the deceased. It is our hope that this commemoration is of some comfort to them," he said.

 

New Lodge Six remembered



A crowd of over 150 people gathered at the Donore Court memorial off the New Lodge Road for the 19th anniversary commemoration of the New Lodge Six: six men from the area shot dead by the British Army and the UDA.

The first two killed were IRA Volunteers James McCann and James Sloan shot by the UDA and it is thought their deaths were designed to provoke the IRA into retaliation so that British Army snipers perched on top of the New Lodge's Artillery Flats could pick them off.

A further four men were killed in the hail of fire directed onto the narrow streets of the area by these snipers. These were Volunteer Tony Campbell and civilians John Loughran, Brendan Maguire and Ambrose Hardy.

Speaking at the commemoration, Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly called on people to support the efforts of the families in their search for justice.

 

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An Phoblacht
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