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Systematic investigation needed for Troubles cases

Maria McShane

There must be a systematic investigation into Troubles murder cases including that of Gavin McShane, it has been urged.

Maria McShane, who survived a no warning bomb that killed two people, is to take civil action for the RUC failing to properly investigate her son's murder years later.

Elizabeth McDonald (38) and 22-year-old Gerard McGleenan died in the blast in August 1976. Mrs McShane was left with serious head injuries and blind in one eye.

However, the baby the then 18-year-old Co Armagh woman was carrying miraculously survived.

Members of the notorious Glenanne Gang were involved in the August 1976 bombing of the Step Inn bar in Keady. The car used in the attack was stored in the farm of an RUC reservist.

Her son Gavin was born months later.

In 1994, aged 17, he was gunned down along with a young friend as he played a gaming machine in a taxi depot in Armagh. Again, despite the identity of the gunman being well known he was never charged.

So confident was the gunman - who is alleged to have been responsible for over 30 murders as part of BIlly Wright's murderous gang - that he didn't wear a mask.

Now a senior member of a Co Armagh church organisation he has never been question about the murder. The gun used was a police personal protection handgun that was never used before or since.

Detectives destroyed the clothes the teenager was wearing and shredded files relating to his case, telling his distraught mother they'd been contaminated with asbestos.

SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness said last night that the story of Maria and Gavin McShane was a tragic one, which had emotional appeal, but it needed to be considered in the context of cases across the political divide involving collusion.

The proposed new independent body, the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU), he said, would carry out fresh investigations into unsolved Troubles-related deaths.

"The Stormont House Agreement has a mechanism within it which will look at these matters and our view is that it has to be done on a systematic basis," Mr Maginness said.

"We hope that the Stormont House Agreement in relation to dealing with the past will be addressed as quickly as possible."

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