Northern Ireland news

Mother of teen killed by loyalists 'still convinced' Johnny Adair was involved in son's murder

Marion Walsh's son Damien Walsh was killed by the UDA in 1993. Picture by Mal McCann

THE mother of a teenager shot dead by loyalists almost 30 years ago said she is "still convinced" Johnny Adair was involved in her son's murder and that she doubts she "will ever get closure".

Marian Walsh's comments come amid claims by the former terror boss that he knew nothing about the UDA killing of Damien Walsh.

Adair has refused to meet Mr Walsh's family and also said he would not engage with any truth commission in the wake of the government’s proposed Troubles amnesty.

"I don't believe that Johnny Adair has nothing to do with Damien's murder," said Ms Walsh.

"I'm still convinced he was involved.

"I knew he would respond in some way, hopefully some day he'll crack and tell us what he knows."

Mr Walsh (17) was gunned down by Adair's notorious `C Company' as he worked at the Dairy Farm shopping centre near Twinbrook on the outskirts of west Belfast in March 1993.

Damien Walsh (17) was shot dead in 1993

In a report published last week by Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson, "significant investigative failures" and evidence of "collusive behaviours" by police in relation to the murder were found.

Ms Anderson found no evidence police had advance knowledge of the attack or could have stopped it, but the decision to stop a surveillance operation "indirectly contributed" to the UDA gang being able to operate without constraint.

Although he was not identified in the report, Ms Walsh said she believes Adair, who was convicted of directing terrorism in 1995, has information on her son's killing.

But Adair claims the killing had "absolutely nothing to do with me".

"I don’t know how my name has been linked in any way, shape or form to it," he told the Sunday Life.

"I cannot talk about something I have no knowledge of and I'm sorry that I can't help anybody there."

He added: "I wouldn't consider meeting the Walsh family because I wouldn't want to add insult to injury because I know nothing about it.

"Why would I speak to someone who has lost a loved one when I had nothing to do with it?

"With my background of being a loyalist paramilitary leader, it would only add insult to injury for that woman.

"There would be no context for me to meet the woman because I know nothing about what happened to her son.

"I have no knowledge. I don't know who did it or how they did it."

Adair also said he would would not engage with any truth commission, despite the government’s proposed amnesty for Troubles-related killings.

"I believe that a truth commission would only cause more heartache and pain for the victims and their loved ones," he said.

Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson with the report into the death of Damien Walsh. Picture by Mal McCann

"It’s not going to bring the victims back from all sides, it’s only going cause more hurt, pain and misery to the families. That’s my opinion.

"It’s not something I would engage with. I don’t believe it would solve anything and I don’t think it would put anything to bed.

"It would only cause more sorrow and that’s why I wouldn’t take part."

Speaking after Adair's comments, Ms Walsh added: "There is no justice for Damien and all the other victims.

"I'm going to keep going, I'll keep trying to get justice, but I don't think I will ever get closure."

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