24 August 2006 Edition

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Family challenges Lisburn City Council over UDR memorial

The family of Michael Power, who was shot dead in 1987, are challenging Lisburn City Council over its decision to erect a monument to the UDR in Lisburn city centre.

According to the Power family the UDR was implicated in Michael's killing and they say the memorial planned by Lisburn Council "is an insult to the many nationalists killed by the UDR and its successor the RIR."

And speaking to An Phoblacht Michael's father, also called Michael, called on the Council not to approve the proposed monument. He called on nationalists to support the whiteline picket organised on Wednesday, 23 August, the anniversary of Michael's death, to protest against the Lisburn proposal.

"The UDR were implicated in my son's murder. They threatened him several days before he was killed," he said.

"I find it appalling that Lisburn City Council, which claims to be acting on behalf of all its citizens, would consider giving public land over to a sectarian force whose members have colluded with loyalist death squads in the murder of Catholics."

Michael Power, who lived in the Lisburn Borough, was shot dead on his way to Mass on 23 August 1987. Members of a UDR patrol had threatened him days before he was killed.

On the morning Michael was killed, the UDR set up a checkpoint close to the spot where he was shot dead. This checkpoint, according to witnesses, was moved just minutes before his loyalist attackers shot Michael in front of his 8-year-old daughter. Two members of the UDR were questioned about the killing but were never charged.

The UDR was formed in 1970 to replace the B-Specials. It was the largest regiment in the British Army and it recruited exclusively in the North of Ireland. In a recently publicised document called "Subversion in the UDR" it was estimated that between 5 and 15% of UDR soldiers were linked to loyalist paramilitaries and that UDR weapons were used to kill Catholics.

It has been confirmed that by 1991 at least 17 UDR/RIR members were convicted of killing nationalists. UDR members took part in killings such as the Miami Showband Massacre, were linked to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, and were involved in the murders of three people killed in a no-warning bomb attack at Donnelly's Bar in Silverbridge, County Armagh.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1