Northern Ireland news

Ill mother Maria McShane vows to fight for murdered son

Maria McShane, who is battling cancer, says she will not give up her fight for justice for her son Gavin who was shot dead by loyalists in 1994
Connla Young

THE terminally ill mother of a Catholic teenager shot dead 25 years ago has said she will continue her fight for justice.

Gavin McShane (17) was murdered by the UVF along with his friend Shane McArdle as they stood in a taxi depot in Armagh on May 18 1994.

The killer, who was not masked, shot both teenagers once in the head as they played a computer game in the depot at Lower English Street.

Mr McShane died at the scene while his friend, also aged 17 and from Markethill, died the following day.

Gavin’s mother Maria McShane (62), who is battling bone cancer, has campaigned for justice since her son was killed.

“I could not let the child be murdered and not try and do something, I have to keep going,” she said.

“And now I am sick and I am heartbroken."

Mrs McShane said she has no fear of the future.

“I am not afraid of dying because I know I am going to meet Gavin,” she said.

Mrs McShane was pregnant with Gavin, her eldest child, when she lost an eye during the 1976 bombing of the Step Inn Bar in Keady, which killed two people.

The campaigning mother said she will continue to fight for justice.

“I will not see it in my day but I will keep fighting for as long as I have," she said.

“I will keep fight until the last."

She added: “The day they shot Gavin was the sorriest day for them because I am not going to let them away with it.”

A new report produced by Relatives for Justice about the murder of Gavin is set to be launched in south Armagh this weekend.

Mrs McShane said it was important to produce the detailed account of what happened.

“I am delighted about it,” she said.

“It has just come at a good time.

“I was gutted when I was told I was ill because I had things to do about Gavin and when they came up with this I was delighted there was something more going on.”

While no-one has ever been charged with the murder the man responsible is believed to be a Portadown based loyalist suspected by some of being a British agent.

Mark Thompson from Relatives for Justice said the report gives "voice and expression to the short yet wonderful life of Gavin McShane."

"It is a report that demands accountability for what happened.

"It is a testament to the resilience and determination of one family to never give up on truth and justice and in particular to Maria McShane."

The report will be launched at the Tommy Makem Arts and Community Centre in Keady, Co Armagh tonight between 5pm and 7pm.

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