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Instruments "should be returned" to Miami Showband survivors

Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady pictured with Miami Showband massacre survivor Des Lee
John Monaghan

MUSICAL instruments taken from the scene of the Miami Showband massacre should be returned to the survivors, the MP for Newry and Armagh has said.

Mickey Brady said he has written to PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton asking where the instruments are now.

"In all that time the survivors have quietly lived with the memories of that night and the nightmare of reliving the horrendous attack," he said.

"I am told by the survivors that the instruments that were in their vehicle on that night were kept by forensic teams and to this day they have never had these returned. Obviously these personal items hold great sentimental value to the survivors and their families."

Three members of the popular showband were murdered when a bogus army patrol, made up of UDR and UVF men, stopped their bus near Newry in the early hours of July 31 1975.

The band's lead singer Fran O'Toole (28), guitarist Tony Geraghty (24) and trumpeter Brian McCoy (32) were killed in the bomb and gun attack as they returned to Dublin from a gig in Banbridge.

Saxophonist Des Lee, who was 24, and bass player Stephen Travers, also 24, managed to survive by playing dead.

The group’s drummer, Ray Millar, was not at the scene as he had driven in his own car to the home of his parents in Antrim.

UDR soldiers Thomas Raymond Crozier and Rodney Shane McDowell, and UVF man John James Somerville, who died earlier this year, were later jailed but released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Last week, on the 40th anniversary of the attack, Mr Lee told The Irish News that the British government should formally apologise for collusion in the massacre.

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