Northern Ireland

Family of LVF murder victim Fergal McCusker still seeking 'truth and justice'

LVF murder victim Fergal McCusker
LVF murder victim Fergal McCusker

The family of a Co Derry man murdered by loyalists say they are still seeking "truth and justice".

Fergal McCusker (28) was shot dead in Maghera as he made his way home from a night out on January 18, 1998 - 25 years ago today.

The callous attack came just weeks after the INLA's prison killing of LVF leader Billy Wright and was one of a series of sectarian reprisals carried out by loyalists.

Known as ‘Rick' to friends, Mr McCusker was targeted in an alleyway near Maghera town centre minutes after leaving friends to visit a takeaway.

A member and former player with Watty Graham's GAC, Glen, Mr McCusker had returned from America just two weeks before his life was cruelly taken.

His former club will take part in the All-Ireland club final against Kilmacud Crokes in Croke Park on Sunday.

His killing came just months after the LVF murdered prominent GAA member Sean Brown in nearby Bellaghy.

Four men were arrested but were later released and no-one has ever been charged.

Earlier this week a coroner set an date next month for evidence to heard in Mr McCusker's long awaited inquest.

In a statement last night his family described him as "an ordinary young man".

"He was fun loving and liked to socialise with his many friends," they said.

"He enjoyed playing soccer with the Maghera Strollers and was also a popular Gaelic footballer with Watty Graham's Glen.

"And in the months prior to his death he also played for Aidan McAnespie's GAC in Boston."

The McCusker family said the "motive of his killers was purely sectarian targeting him for no other reason than being a Catholic".

"Fergal was not political nor was he linked to any group," they said.

"His abduction and murder was totally random.

"Twenty-five years after Fergal's murder we the McCusker family are still seeking truth and justice."

A spokesman for Watty Graham's GAC said the club "is fully behind the McCusker family and have been from the start."

"It adds a bit of poignancy that the 25th anniversary falls in the week leading up to the biggest game in the club's history."

A candlelight vigil will be held in Maghera on Friday, January 27 at 7.30pm, to mark Mr McCusker's anniversary.

After gathering at Fairhill youth club those attending will take part in a procession to the Watty Graham's club where support group Relatives for Justice will give a talk and a statement will be read from the family's legal team.

On February 4 an annual football match in memory of Mr McCusker will take place at Watty Graham Park with a Glen select team taking on a Derry select.

The game will be followed by a presentation and music in the Glen Centre.