Northern Ireland news

Tributes paid to plastic bullet campaigner Brendan Duffy

Seamus Duffy was killed by a plastic bullet fired by the RUC in August 1989.
Connla Young

TRIBUTES have been paid to the campaigning father of a 15-year-old north Belfast boy killed by a plastic bullet almost three decades ago.

Brendan Duffy, from Oldpark, died suddenly at home on Friday.

His son Seamus was the last person to be killed in the north by a plastic bullet.

The teenager was hit in the chest by a round fired by police when rioting broke out in the New Lodge area during an anti-internment bonfire in August 1989.

He had earlier made his way to New Lodge from his home in the Oldpark area.

An inquest found no evidence that he had been involved in rioting at the time.

His death sparked criticism from politicians and human rights groups over the use of plastic bullets.

No RUC officers were ever disciplined or charged in connection with his death.

Both his parents, Brendan and Kathleen, campaigned against the use of plastic bullets in the years that followed.

Leading plastic bullet campaigner Clara Reilly said she was saddened by Mr Duffy's death.

“Kathleen and Brendan were stalwarts of the campaign,” she said.

“They never got over the death of young Seamus.

“They were dedicated to the fight to get plastic bullets banned.”

Relatives for Justice deputy director Andrée Murphy also paid tribute on Twitter last night.

"The passing of Brendan Duffy is so sad," she said

Mr Duffy will be laid to rest at the City Cemetery tomorrow after Requiem Mass at Sacred Heart Church, Oldpark Road at 10am.

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