Northern Ireland

Tributes to `marvellous' north Belfast woman who campaigned for justice for her murdered father

Rosemary Harvey (78) passed away on Saturday at her home in north Belfast
Rosemary Harvey (78) passed away on Saturday at her home in north Belfast

Tributes have been paid to a "marvellous" Belfast woman who dedicated her life to fighting for justice for her father, a victim of the Shankill Butchers.

Rosemary Harvey died aged 78 on Saturday at her home in the north of the city.

The grandmother and mother-of-four was a member of Relatives for Justice for the past 15 years.

Her father, Joseph Morrissey suffered one of the most horrific deaths of the troubles.

The 52-year-old, who had four sons and nine daughters as well as 32 grandchildren, was last seen by his family on February 2, 1977, when he left home in the afternoon to go to the National Club.

He was abducted by Shankill Butchers while walking home and bundled into a car outside St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street, where he had attended Mass earlier that day.

He was taken to a torture room, a former doctor’s surgery in the Shankill, where he became the gang's second victim after suffering a catalogue of horrific injuries.

Speaking to The Irish News yesterday, Mike Ritchie, Case Work Manager at Relatives for Justice, said the group assisted Mrs Harvey in constructing a complaint to the Police Ombudsman "asking them to look into the failures in policing in respect of the investigation."

Mr Ritchie said Mrs Harvey was "trying to find out what happened and why it happened, in particular why the police investigation was so appallingly conducted".

Contributing to a forthcoming RFJ report into her father's death, Mrs Harvey said her dad "wasn’t just the cornerstone of our family, but a true friend.

"We had the best mentor in our father, who had very high standards of morals, scruples, behaviours and manners, with his willingness to listen no matter what.

"I continue my life knowing he is always at my side.

"Because the dead cry out for justice, so we - the living - have to do it for them".

Mr Ritchie described Mrs Harvey as a "marvellous, marvellous woman and everybody is very upset at her passing.

"She was just such a wonderful, wonderful woman," he said.

"She was so generous, so grateful for any help that could be given but also had a dignity about her, which was very moving.

"She had this kind of strong determination .....and the behaviour of the Shankill Butchers, in particular, was something that needed to be pursued and should never be allowed to happen again".

He added: "Through it all she managed to maintain her composure and was a great and very, very valued member of Relatives for Justice as is her widower, Joe Harvey".