Northern Ireland news

Senior Ulster GAA official adds his support to family's quest for truth in the sectarian murder of Bellaghy club chairman Sean Brown

Loyalist murder victim Sean Brown
Connla Young

A SENIOR Ulster GAA official has voiced his support for the family of murdered Bellaghy chairman Sean Brown.

Stephen McGeehan spoke out after Bellaghy Wolfe Tones GAC wrote a letter to the family of Mr Brown "supporting their ongoing quest for truth and justice" weeks after the British government revealed plans to end Troubles inquests.

The Westminster government also plans to end criminal and civil proceedings for incidents which took place prior to 1998.

Mr Brown (61), who was the Bellaghy club chairman, was abducted by members of an LVF gang as he locked the gates at its grounds in May 1997.

The father-of-six was bundled into the boot of own car and taken to a country lane outside Randalstown in Co Antrim where he was shot six times.

His remains were later found beside his burning car.

No-one has ever been charged in connection with his murder.

Some of those involved are believed to have been working as state agents at the time.

In 2004 the Police Ombudsman described the police investigation as incomplete and inadequate.

Since his murder his family has attended around 30 preliminary inquest hearings.

His full inquest is part of a series due to be held in the coming years.

Mr McGeehan, who is a long-serving Ulster Council official, took to Twitter to voice his support for the Brown family.

"It's long overdue that the Brown family and the entire @Bellaghy GAC community get treated with a tiny modicum of the dignity and respect that they have shown in the 25 years since Sean's brutal murder for simply being a GAA volunteer," he wrote.

"Time for answers, truth and justice for them now."

In its letter the Bellaghy club described Mr Brown as "a family man who worked tirelessly and selflessly for our club.

"He was described by Seamus Heaney as 'a man of integrity and good will'," it said.

"Subsequent investigations into this terrible crime have reached no conclusion.

"In January 2004 the report of the Police Ombudsman was highly critical of the police investigation."

The club referred to the inquest process and added that it "fully supports" the Brown family "in their ongoing quest for truth and justice in this 'shocking and sinister' murder".

Both the Derry County GAA Board and Northern Ireland Office were contacted for comment but did not respond.

Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice last night said his organisation has compiled details of 160 GAA members killed during the Troubles.

"Our intentions are to reach out to and interview the families of those GAA members giving them a voice and to produce a publication that reflects the GAA's experience of loss during the conflict," he said.

"This project is supported by a number of high profile GAA players, past and present, county board representatives across the Island including senior GAA officials abroad."

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