Northern Ireland news

Priest: British government legacy proposals adding 'insult to injury' to grieving relatives

Fr Andy Dolan (right) was speaking during Requiem  Mass for Damian Brown 
Connla Young

A priest at the funeral of a man whose father was murdered by loyalists has described controversial British government proposals for a Troubles amnesty as adding “insult to injury” to grieving relatives.

Fr Andy Dolan was speaking during Requiem Mass for Damian Brown, who died last week after a short illness.

His father Sean Brown was abducted by members of the LVF as he locked up at the grounds of Bellaghy Wolf Tones GAA club, Co Derry, in May 1997.

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

In the years since his father’s murder Mr Brown attended around 30 coroners court hearings in Belfast in a bid to have an inquest heard.

Loyalist murder victim Sean Brown

A large crowd joined Mr Brown’s wife Jeanette, his sons Damán and Declan, mother Bridie and family circle for Requiem Mass at the Church of St Mary in Bellaghy yesterday.

During his homily Fr Dolan spoke of the obstacles faced by Mr Brown in his quest for answers.

“Ever since then Damian has been at the forefront of the efforts to ascertain the truth surrounding his father Sean’s brutal death, and obtain justice on his father’s behalf,” he said.

“He dies with all his efforts being deliberately frustrated, no inquest, papers supposedly lost and no one ever charged - I could go on in this vein.”

He also referenced the British government’s plans for dealing with legacy, which include an amnesty and an end to all civil proceedings and inquests.

“And insult added to injury for all families seeking redress, seeking truth we are going to have a line drawn under this, airbrush it out of history, press the delete button on the suffering and pain that Damian, his mother and family have been enduring for nearly 25 years - such insult to injury.”

Fr Dolan added that Mr Brown was a “tower of strength” for his family “keeping his mother Bridie’s boat afloat along with his siblings”.

“That drive and energy was the hallmark of his life in all its aspects,” he said.

Fr Dolan described Mr Brown, a former player and manager with Bellaghy Wolf Tones, as a club “stalwart”.

“He carried on the Brown family tradition and association with the club since its foundation, and no doubt it was a source of fulfilment and pride for him to see his own son Declan wear the Blue with equal commitment as himself.”

“One area of life that I haven’t touched on is his faith,” Fr Dolan added.

“Himself and Jeanette walking up the street to Mass was a great witness and example for couples and families."

Mr Brown was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.

Loyalist murder victim Sean Brown

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