Northern Ireland news

Mother of murdered brothers Gerard and Rory Cairns urges former policemen to 'examine their conscience'

Sheila and Eamon Cairns pictured in their home near Lurgan in Co Armagh. Picture by Mal McCann.
Connla Young

The mother of two young Catholic men shot dead by suspected agents almost 30 years ago has appealed to former members of the RUC to examine their conscience and reveal what they know.

Sheila Cairns made the plea on the 28th anniversary of the deaths of her sons Gerard (22) and Rory (18) Cairns who were shot dead in the living room of their home near Bleary, Co Armagh, on October 28, 1993.

Collusion is suspected in the murders of the brothers.

Three suspected agents have been linked to the case, including former UVF commanders Robin Jackson and Billy Wright.

The last photograph taken of Gerard and Rory Cairns, pictured middle with their sister Roisin, who was celebrating her 11th birthday on the night they were shot dead

The family believe a third man, Alan Oliver, was one of the killers.

Information about the murders came to light last year during a BBC interview given by former loyalist Laurence Maguire who claimed he had been involved in an aborted attempt to target the family, planned by Jackson, a year earlier.

Read More: UVF killers told me to be quiet before shooting dead my brothers

He also claimed that all targeting information came from Wright and was supplied to him by RUC members.

Jackson and Wright, who are both dead, were among nine loyalists arrested after the murders but released without charge.

No-one has ever been charged in relation to the murders.

The double funeral of Gerard and Rory Cairns. Picture by Pacemaker

Gerard and Rory's mother Sheila has appealed to former policemen or anyone else with information to come forward.

“As a mother I’m appealing to anyone with information to please come forward,” she said.

“Examine your conscience.

“What if this were your children?

“I particularly appeal to those within the RUC at the time that may have knowledge of what took place to please come forward.”

Sheila and Eamon Cairns Picture Mal McCann.

Ms Cairns said finding out the truth was important to her family's recovery.

“Truth and justice – finding out and getting accountability - are essential for my family and me in order to try and heal and recover as best we can,” she said.

“Good people know what happened and for whatever reasons have remained silent.

“Please help us by breaking that silence.

“If you have any information please go to whomever you feel comfortable with and tell them - a member of the clergy, the current police ombudsman, the PSNI, someone in authority - but please also let us know directly or through a third party so as this can be followed up.”

Earlier this month Gerard and Rory's father Eamon Cairns claimed that police have failed to act on the new information about the murders.

A spokeswoman for the PSNI Legacy Investigation Branch said they had been been making enquiries with BBC since earlier this year to obtain the unedited footage “to establish the context of the broadcast material and whether there is any other evidence which would enable police to progress investigations”.

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