Northern Ireland news

Leading republican Joe Haughey dies suddenly

Joe 'The Hawk' Haughey who died this week after a short illness.

Leading republican Joe 'The Hawk' Haughey, who stood trial for the murder of schoolteacher Mary Travers, has died in hospital after a short illness.

The north Belfast father-of-three passed away on Tuesday.

From Carrick Hill, the 66-year-old was first convicted in November 1981 for hijacking a car used in the M60 machinegun murder of a deputy governor of Crumlin Road prison.

Haughey, then 28 years old, was given a suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of hijacking and false imprisonment. He was acquitted of IRA membership charges.

In June 1986 he was acquitted of involvement in the murder of Mary Travers and the attempted murder of her father, magistrate Tom Travers.

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Two IRA gunmen ambushed the Travers family in April 1984, as they left Mass at St Brigid's church on Derryvolgie Avenue in south Belfast.

Teacher Mary (22) died almost instantly. Her prominent magistrate father Tom was left fighting for his life having being shot six times.

His wife Joan narrowly escaped injury after one of the guns used in the attack jammed.

Haughey and IRA woman Mary McArdle were charged in connection with the attack.

He was originally identified by Mr Travers as being the man who killed his daughter, however his identification evidence was questioned during trial and Haughey was acquitted.

McArdle was sentenced to a life term for the murder and was released under the Good Friday Agreement and later went onto work for Sinn Féin.

In June 16 1991, Haughey survived a murder attempt when loyalist gunmen opened fire from a passing car close to Unity Flats. He was hit in the arm.

The shooting came shortly after a tabloid newspaper named him as an IRA intelligence officer and claimed he was working at EuroDisney.

More recently he was among a list of republicans who have been wanted for questioning by the Operation Kenova team, investigating a series of murders carried out by the IRA agent known as Stakeknife.

The team headed up by English chief constable Jon Boucher have already spoken to a number of high profile, former IRA and current Sinn Féin members as part of their investigation.

Joe Haughey will be laid to rest in the City Cemetery following requiem mass in St Patrick's Church, Donegall Street at 10am on Monday, he is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Joanne, sons Liam and Sean.


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