Northern Ireland news

Family of Belfast man shot dead in 1972 say police reports clear his name

Paul O’Connor from the Pat Finucane Centre  
Connla Young

THE family of a north Belfast man shot dead by the British army more than 40 years ago have welcomed a PSNI report that confirms he was unarmed.

Edward (Ted) Brady (30) was shot during a gun battle on the Oldpark Road in July 1972 which erupted after an IRA ceasefire broke.

A former internee, Mr Brady is listed in the book Lost Lives as a member of the Official IRA although his family said he had kept a low profile since his release from prison and was concerned only with the care of his elderly mother and family.

British soldiers had claimed that they opened fire on a man carrying a rifle.

Mr Brady’s family now say that two reports produced by the defunct Historical Enquiries Team and PSNI’s Legacy Investigation Branch cast doubt on the soldiers’ version of events and confirm Mr Brady was an unarmed civilian who was not involved in the gun battle.

The victim was in a mixed marriage and his widow Sarah has spoken out for the first time to welcome the finding of both reports.

“As a family we always knew that Edward was not a gunman, was not carrying a gun and was in fact returning from visiting his mother in the area,” she said.

“He had arranged to meet me, his wife, that afternoon in the centre of Belfast.

“Things were very difficult in 1972 for mixed marriage couples like ours and we were forced to live apart temporarily.”

Mrs Brady said her family has gained comfort from the reports.

“After all these years we are relieved and comforted that the record has finally been set straight,” she said.

“Ted was going about his lawful business and posed no threat to anyone when he was taken from us.

“This has now been officially acknowledged and that has lifted a terrible burden from our shoulders.

“His loss caused decades of pain and hurt for me and for his three children who were seven, six and two at the time of his death.”

Mrs Brady revealed that her family had to threaten legal action before the PSNI handed over the report.

She also paid tribute to a man who was shot and wounded while trying to go to the aid of her husband.

Paul O’Connor from the Pat Finucane Centre, who has helped the family, said the findings have lifted a burden for the Brady family but “hundreds of other families are awaiting the establishment of a Historical Investigations Unit”.

He was also critical of police and claimed the “determination of the PSNI to withhold this report speaks volumes for the culture of secrecy and impunity that still permeates policing here”.

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