Northern Ireland news

Families to attend Greysteel massacre anniversary vigil

A new memorial stone has been dedicated to the victims of the Greysteel massacre. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 
Seamus McKinney

THE families of eight people killed in the `trick or treat' massacre in Greysteel will tomorrow evening attend a 25th anniversary vigil outside the bar where their loved ones were murdered by the UDA.

A Mass will also be held at the Star of the Sea church tomorrow to commemorate the1993 murders.

Parish priest in the village at the time, Fr Stephen Kearney believes the horror of Greysteel and the Shankill bomb murders the previous week helped renew political leaders in their efforts for peace.

Now retired, Fr Kearney recalled the absolute shock in the hours and days after the murders. He said the killings cast a “grey dullness” over the area.

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The violence of the Troubles was visited on a quiet village

“Everyone seemed to be grey; everything seemed to be grey; everyone seemed to have been wearing grey clothes,” he said.

Now living in Co Tyrone, Fr Kearney said the attack was cruel and barbaric. However, he believed that in their vulnerability, the people of Greysteel developed a great strength.

In the 25 years since, the families of the dead and the wounded have often shunned media attention in their efforts to maintain good relations in the community.

On the 20th anniversary in 2013, some relatives spoke of their feelings and memories. Martin Duddy, whose mother Moira (59) was one of those killed, said she was completely dedicated to her family.

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“Your world’s torn apart but as time goes by, it’s the healing, as each year goes by. It never stops, it’s just you become a stronger person,” he recalled.

In 2016, Lorraine Murray who was shot and injured along with her mother, Mary McKeever, broke her silence to recall the horror of the evening. A young mother, Mrs Murray recounted her memories in Beyond the Silence, a book recalling the stories of women who suffered in the Troubles.

“We were standing at the bar and I remember joking about where we’d find a seat because it was so empty in the bigger lounge area. There, as we walked towards a table, the gunmen came in behind us.

The UDA murdered eight people at the Rising Sun Bar. Photograph by Pacemaker

“One of them shouted ‘trick or treat' and a young girl said to him, ‘That isn’t even funny,’ and he just shot her where she sat. Shot her in the face or head. She was younger than me, only a teenage girl.”

Mrs Murray lay with her mother hoping that if she let on to be dead the killers would leave her alone. She could see cartridges falling on the floor from a gunman beside her.

“She (her mother) had fallen at the door so I went back to get her. That’s when I was shot too. She kept saying, ‘I can’t, I can’t’ but eventually I got her to her feet. My mother was shot in the stomach too but the bullet had bounced off her handbag first so it wasn’t too bad an injury.”

As the ran from the bar, her arm felt “like a dead arm” and there was blood dripping from it. The victim said the injuries “wrecked” her mother’s life afterwards. Mrs Murray said she was till trying to deal with the “mental scar” left by the murders.

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