Northern Ireland news

Greysteel killings ended one of Troubles' darkest weeks

Greysteel killer Stephen Irwin was returned to prison in 2005 after he was convicted of stabbing a football fan. Photograph by Alan Lewis
Seamus McKinney

EIGHT people died and 19 were injured as a result of the Greysteel massacre.

The UDA claimed the shootings – in the name of the Ulster Freedom Fighters – were in revenge for the Shankill bombing in Belfast exactly a week before.

The two atrocities marked one of the darkest weeks of the Troubles and are believed to have acted as a catalyst to efforts to build peace.

Within a year, the IRA, UDA and UVF had all declared ceasefires.

One of the murderers, Stephen Irwin, shouted “trick or treat” before opening fire on the approximately 70 people.

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In February 1995 four men were sentenced to life imprisonment but released five years later under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

In 2005 Irwin was sentenced to four years in prison for slashing a Glentoran football fan with a knife during the Irish Cup Final at Windsor Park.

As he had been released on licence under the Good Friday Agreement, the court ordered he also serve the original eight life sentences.

However, he was released again in 2013 after petitioning the Sentence Review Commission.

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Torrens Knight and fellow paramilitary members killed eight people in an attack on the Rising Sun bar on October 30 1993

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