Northern Ireland

Fresh details emerge about the violent death of murder victim Kevin Conway’s father

Kevin Conway Sr shot dead almost 26 years ago

Murder victim, Kevin Conway Sr, was killed in February 1998 (Alan Lewis : Photopress Belfast)

Fresh claims have been made about events leading up to the death of Kevin Conway’s father - who was also murdered almost 26 years ago.

Kevin Conway Sr (30) was found shot dead in a derelict farmhouse near the village of Aghalee, Co Armagh, on February 18, 1998.

The father-of-four had been bound before being shot in the head.

While no-one ever claimed responsibility for the killing, republicans were blamed.

The murder of his son, who shared his name, in west Belfast this week has renewed interest in the case.

From the Kilwilkie estate in Lurgan, the 30-year-old had been missing for two days before his body was found.

It later emerged he had been at home with his three-month-old son, Kevin Conway Jr, when he went missing.

His killing has been linked to the IRA and took place just weeks before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement - at a time when the organisation was on ceasefire.

However, the reason why Mr Conway was singled out has never been fully explained.

A bearded man dressed in a shirt and tie smokes a cigarette
Murder victim Kevin Conway jnr

Known as a ‘wheeler dealer’ in his local area, it is believed he traded mainly in cigarettes and drink.

Informed sources say Mr Conway Sr was also involved in a loyalist fake cash racket.

It has been suggested that around the time he was killed a large amount of dud £1 coins, and other amounts, had flooded Catholic-owned businesses in the Lurgan area.

Many of the coins also ended up in cigarette and poker machines throughout the north Armagh town.

A Catholic businessman, who has since died, was also involved in the scam, it is claimed.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/02/98 A local parish priest (right) emerges from the Farm house in Aghalee near Portadown after giving the body of Kevin Conway the last rites this morning. Connolly's body was found late last night with his hands bound behind his back.
A priest (right) emerges after giving Kevin Conway the last rites.

Sources suggest Mr Conway’s role in the fake cash plot came to light after his vehicle was spotted at a house located in a loyalist estate on the outskirts of north Belfast, which was being monitored by republicans at the time.

The car was later followed as it returned to the Kilwilkie estate.

Republicans based in north Armagh were later made aware of the development.

It is suggested that until that point Mr Conway’s involvement in the fake coin scam was not known.

Northern Ireland Office minister Adam Ingram later said in a House of Commons written answer that local elements of the IRA were responsible for the killing.

He added that the RUC were unable to establish if it had been authorised by the IRA leadership.

In the days after the killing Sinn Féin pointed the finger of blame at loyalists while the LVF, which had a strong presence in north Armagh at the time, denied involvement and claimed the killing was the work of republicans.

In 2018 a Portadown man was acquitted of involvement in the kidnapping of Mr Conway.