Northern Ireland news

Mother Sheila Cairns will never forgive men who killed her sons

Eamon and Shelia Cairns the parents of 22-year-old Gerard Cairns and 18-year-old brother, Rory, who were shot dead in their home at Bleary, near Lurgan, on 28 October 1993. Also pictured Paula and Roisin, sisters of the murdered brothers. Picture by Mal McCann.
Connla Young

The mother of Gerard and Rory Cairns says she can never forgive their loyalist killers.

Sheila Cairns (73) last night said she wants to know why her sons were targeted by a UVF murder squad.

“All I would like to know is why?” she said.

“Why were they singled out and why were they murdered?"

She said that despite the passing of time she will not forgive the killers.

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“No, I would never forgive anybody that would come into my house, into my kitchen and murder my children,” she said.

“I don’t care what happens, my sons (are) in the Clare graveyard at the minute, no, I couldn’t forgive anybody.”

The last photograph taken of Gerard and Rory Cairns on the night they were shot dead by the UVF in their home in Bleary, Co Armagh. Also pictured was their sister Róisín who was celebrating her 11th birthday.

Her son Liam (39), shares his mother’s view.

“I certainly can’t forgive at any cost, it’s something I could never do,” he said.

Liam says he wants to know who had knowledge of the murders.

“I am more interested in how far it goes up the ladder, where it stops,” he said.

His sister Paula (46), who abandoned her studies in England after her brothers were killed, believes they were targeted because of their “Irish culture”.

Eamon and Shelia Cairns at the graves of their murdered sons Gerard and Rory. Picture by Mal McCann.

She believes the killers were helped by loyalists in the wider area.

“I would like to know who actually set us up,” she said.

“Who would have singled you out otherwise, there had to be somebody local.”

She has no doubt there was collision in the murders.

Gerard Cairns

“I would like for it to be admitted that there was collusion, because it was evident and that sticks in me.

“It sticks in all of us.”

Forensic evidence and interviews with the suspected killers were all destroyed after the police claimed they were contaminated with asbestos while in storage.

Rory Cairns

The boys’ father Eamon has little faith in the British justice system to provide the truth about the murder of his sons.

“If they deny that truth, being honest and open about it, to me that’s fair enough but leave my country and, above all else, take your judicial system with you,” he said.

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