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Reavey calls for release of files on brothers' massacre

Connla Young

THE brother of three Catholic men shot dead almost 40 years ago has called on the British government to release all the files relating to their case. Eugene Reavey last night accused the British government of being 'unwilling' to reveal government files relating to the murders.

John Martin Reavey (24) and his brother Brian (22) died after a UVF gang burst into their Whitecross home in south Armagh and opened fire as they watched TV on January 4, 1976.

A third brother Anthony (17) was injured after he tried to hide under a bed and died several weeks later.

The murders were committed by the so-called notorious Glenanne Gang, which included members of the UVF and security forces. Within minutes of the shooting, members of the O'Dowd family were gunned down by the same loyalist gang 15 miles away near Gilford, Co Down.

The next day 10 Protestant men were shot dead in a reprisal attack near Kingsmills, south Armagh, as they travelled home from work.

In a letter in today's Irish News Mr Reavey calls on British prime minister David Cameron to play his part in dealing with the past.

He writes: "Official calls are constantly being made by government figures including David Cameron for a resolution of the past here. But they themselves by their inaction are preventing the very resolution that they are demanding. "Almost forty years after their murders by a sectarian gang, every attempt to get truth and justice has floundered on the refusal of the prime minister of the day to make the files on this case available, or to have them unredacted."

In 2010 a Historical Enquiries Team report into the Reavey ambush exonerated the brothers and family members from any links to paramilitary groups.

Writing in the aftermath of the Haass talks failure, Mr Reavey believes the British government has a major part to play in dealing with the past. "If those in government are sincere in putting justice and equity before whatever it is they are hiding, if they are sincere in giving leadership regarding the difficult issues of past, then they must step forward and unlock the impasse as they alone have the key to do it," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Office said: "The NIO and the British government always fulfil our legal obligations on disclosure. "However as we are not aware of any formal request that has been made, it would not be appropriate for the NIO to comment any further.

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