THE murderous activities of one of mid-Ulster’s most prolific loyalist death squads is set to be laid bare in a new documentary planned by the director of harrowing collusion film Unquiet Graves.

LVF Guard of Honour watching over Billy Wright as he lies in his coffin. After being murdered by members of the INLA in the H.Blocks, of Long Kesh.

Film-maker Sean Murray is in the pre-production stages of a tell-all feature film focusing on Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright’s notorious UVF brigade and his gang’s deadly links to the security services. The follow-up to Unquiet Graves, which aired on RTE to huge viewing figures of 21o,000 this week, will focus on countless sectarian murders carried out by Wright’s death squad in East Tyrone during the 80s and 90s. It will explore Britain’s shoot-to-kill policy which ran alongside some of the Troubles’ most callous murders carried out by loyalist hit teams whose victims included a heavily pregnant women and elderly civilians. Collusion claims, similar to those revealed in the West Belfast man’s hard-hitting film shown to TV audiences last week for the first time, are also expected to be revealed.


“I’ll not give too much away but we are already in pre-production for that film,” the 44-year-old director told the Sunday World. “It will concentrate on the killings in East Tyrone, and how the strategy by the British Government changed.” Commenting on Wednesday night’s RTE’s milestone screening of his Glennane Gang film, he said: “I viewed it as being something very historic indeed considering that it’s the first time that an independent film of that nature has been shown uncut. “To be able to just actually pierce public consciousness in the south about what happened with regards to the activities of the Glennane Gang, in the north and south, is just something that is historic. “I wanted to represent an overarching story on collusion, there are many aspects in many different areas but I think for me the Glennane Gang, those series of killings, was something that was monumental.

Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright

“There was a nature that this was something very, very big and I thought if I made a film on the Glennane Gang it would give a real sense of what was happening in other areas and not just those series of killings. “And I think there were many aspects to what happened with the Glennane Gang. You had the UDR, you had the RUC and how they were in cahoots with the UVF, and the scale of killings, over 120 people, 120 civilians. “People who were doing well, SDLP members, GAA members. So, for me it was something that could pierce public consciousness like the south or in Britain,” he said. “And if it shocks someone like me who has lived through the conflict and has been surrounded by it in West Belfast, then what is that going to do to an English audience that hasn’t been affected by the political violence that surrounded us?” The film, first released in 2018, details how rogue members of the RUC and UDR worked alongside loyalist paramilitary killers targeting civilians in the so-called “murder triangle” spanning counties Armagh and Tyrone.

UDA-UDR-UVF Spot the difference? Answer: There is no difference

The murder machine became known as the Glennane Gang, responsible for around 120 sectarian murderers of farmers, shopkeepers, publicans and other innocents in a terror campaign through the 1970s. That included the 1976 bombing of the Step Inn in Keady, in which two Catholics, Elizabeth McDonald and Gerard McGleenon, were murdered. The activities of prolific UVF killer Robin ‘The Jackal’ Jackson, a known security force agent, was also featured. The state-backed murderer has been linked to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the Miami Showband massacre and countless sectarian murders. In the film he was identified by the grieving widow of Pat Campbell, blasted to death on the doorstep of his Banbridge home in 1973, as being one of the gunmen.

Kathleen O’Hagan (38) murdered by the UVF at a remote cottage in Co. Tyrone in August 1994

Former RUC officer and self-confessed Glennane Gang member John Weir also gave a chilling account of an aborted plan to launch a gun attack on a Catholic primary school. Despite wide-spread praise and reviews, the critically acclaimed film was also subject to some criticism from unionist circles. UUP MLA Doug Beattie, a former British soldier, accused the programme of being “biased and unbalanced”. He also likened the documentary to “anti-state propaganda”. Said Murray: “I understand that there are victims on the other side, and I think what Unquiet Graves does is, it tells a story about victims of state violence very sensitively, it’s not agitprop, it’s not in your face. “No matter what work we do, if you are dealing with sensitive issues around legacy, we need to be mindful of victims right across the political spectrum, and I hope my work does that.” The feature film, narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea, was inspired by the painstaking work of the human rights groups The Pat Finucane Centre, Dublin-based Justice for the Forgotten and journalist Anne Cadwallader’s best-selling book, Lethal Allies. Ms Cadwallader said it was “incredibly gratifying” to see the reaction to victims and survivors’ stories being screened on TV. “I’m glad obviously that it has had such a huge reaction on social media, I’m disappointed that more politicians haven’t commented because you would have thought that on both sides of the border when they watched it, and they should have watched it, maybe there’s something happening behind the scenes I don’t know,” she said.


“But I am very, very critical of the British government whose responsibility of what happened in Lethal Allies is. We have had nothing from the British government.” The campaigning journalist added: “In the film Sean said 11 of them had died since we began the legal actions through the courts to get an inquiry which is now being headed by Jon Boutcher. “But that figure of 11 is now up to 25 people have died waiting for the British government to respond to the book. “They had masses of opportunity and not only have they not acknowledged or apologised, they haven’t even met the families.” “Eugene Reavey who lost his three brothers, a man who lost his mother and two brothers in three different attacks, two of which were linked to the Glennane Gang, who has never had a single letter or acknowledgment from London that anything wrong happened. “I feel angry and sad on their behalf because, I am a Brit and I feel that my government has treated these people appallingly, cruelly and offensively. “No-one can be above the law, least of all those paid to uphold it.”

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and EXCLUSIVE story by Patricia Devlin for the original story –


Stormont department seeks PSNI/RUC advice about removing Billy Wright flags in Dungannon

Flags with Billy Wright’s image have been put up on a main road into Dungannon

A  Stormont department has sought advice from police about the removal of flags glorifying loyalist Billy Wright in Co Tyrone.

Flags bearing the image of the former LVF leader were recently put up on lampposts on the main road into Dungannon from the M1.

They have been erected on either side of the busy route near a junction leading to Dungannon Park, a popular destination for local people.

A former UVF commander in Mid Ulster, Wright went on to found the LVF.

He was shot dead inside the H-Blocks by the INLA in 1997.

LVF Guard of Honour watching over Billy Wright as he lies in his coffin. After being murdered by members of the INLA in the H.Blocks, of Long Kesh.

Cookstown man Ruairi Cummings called last week for the flags to be removed.

He was 17 when LVF gunmen seriously injured his father Christy and killed another man, Seamus Dillon, outside the Glengannon Hotel in Dungannon in December 1997.

Uniformed volunteers of the Irish National Liberation Army or INLA in Derry in the North of Ireland

He was standing just feet away when the shooting took place.

The Department for Infrastructure last night said: “The department has sought advice from the PSNI on removing these flags.”

Chief Inspector Michael McDonald said: “As a police service we recognise the hurt and frustration that can be caused when a particular flag or banners appear, however, we are compelled in law to consider the legislation available to us.

“Whilst these flags may be perceived as offensive and distasteful, the erection does not in itself breach the law, however we are making efforts to engage with the local community in relation to this matter.”

Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew said the flags have “caused hurt and offence to many in the area” and should be removed.

“This has been done deliberately to be hurtful, provocative and offensive,” he said.

Independent councillor Barry Monteith has also called for their removal.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story 

Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) flags prompt feud fear

Billy Wright leader of the Loyaist Ulster Volunteer Force the (LVF)

FEARS are growing of another loyalist feud erupting in a Co Antrim town. Tensions are running high after the recent erection of LVF flags in Ballymena.

The flags have been put up on lampposts in the Doury Road estate, an area regarded locally as a UDA stronghold. The LVF flags were put up in the Camberwell Way part of the estate. The move is being blamed on an LVF faction who recently moved from Co Antrim. “They are blow ins,” revealed our source. “Whether they moved of their own free will or where put out no one knows. “But there is no way the UDA will put up with that.


“Doury Road has always been an area with big support for the UDA.” There are fears that the actions will antagonise UDA members into action. “It is only a small group but I’ve been told more are expected to arrive from Antrim,” added our source. “Hopefully nothing kicks off but people with authority in the organisation are monitoring the situation closely.”

There has been no love lost between the rival paramilitary organisations over the years. The LVF built up a strong affiliation with Johnny Adair’s Shankill Road UFF unit. And it was the unveiling of an LVF flag outside a bar during a show of strength which sparked the vicious feud which ultimately led to Adair’s exile. Now there are fears that Ballymena could be about to become the centre of another violent loyalist dispute.

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the original story.

KILLER Billy Wright ‘given dossiers by the RUC/PSNI and used them to target families of republicans’

Question: David Hoare Notorious UVF leader Billy Wright was working as an agent for Special Branch and the FRU, senior security forces have told the BBC.

And according to the sixth episode of Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History, Wright’s predecessor as leader of the Mid-Ulster UVF, the late Robin Jackson, had also been recruited as a state agent.

Jackson, who led the UVF terror campaign in Mid-Ulster from the 1970s through to the early 1990s, is thought to have been personally involved in up to 50 killings during the Troubles.

He had been arrested in 1973 for involvement in a murder, but was never prosecuted despite being identified by the wife of the victim. Charges were dropped, and a number of security sources have told the BBC they believed that was when he was recruited in return for avoiding prosecution.

Former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan told the BBC: “My understanding would be that he was a murderer, a prolific murderer, a very, very dangerous and ruthless man. They never investigated him.”

The BBC claims Jackson’s murder gang included soldiers and RUC officers.

Billy McCauley, a former police officer and accomplice of Jackson in the murder of a Catholic shopkeeper, told the programme: “It would have been a case of meeting republican terror with even greater loyalist terror. That would have been the rationale.”

The programme’s research shows the number of attacks on Catholics – particularly on family members of those connected to republicanism – by the Mid-Ulster UVF rose dramatically when Wright took over as leader of the organisation.

Retired Detective Chief Inspector David Hoare, part of the Historical Inquiries Team, said evidence suggests the RUC didn’t try hard enough to stop the UVF murder gang.

“Forty odd murders and so few people convicted – to me it tells a tale in itself,” he said.

“It raises the question: did the RUC try hard enough or were they not good enough to deal with Mid-Ulster UVF?

“I don’t buy the argument they weren’t good enough.

“They were certainly good enough.”

He also revealed a catalogue of missing evidence in cases relating to the Mid-Ulster gang when he went to reinvestigate the murders of Kevin and Jack McKearney in their butcher’s shop in Moy in 1992, 13 years later.

The McKearney family had strong IRA links, though neither of the victims had involvement with paramilitarism.

“Crucial evidence had been lost,” he said. “A partially destroyed jacket found in the getaway car had disappeared.”

He also revealed in 1998 that hundreds of police files, including those on killings in Mid-Ulster, had been destroyed because of reported asbestos contamination.

“I can’t say how huge the destruction of the records was,” he said.

“There were health and safety measures that could have been taken to clean those exhibits safely, but that wasn’t done.”

Police told the BBC the evidential loss was minimal.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Mark Bain for the original story 

Police chief says loyalist killer Billy Wright Cappagh banner ‘won’t offend everyone’ and PSNI must attempt to achieve balance

Trial of double murderer and ex-leading loyalist murderer ‘Winkie’ Rea is delayed on medical grounds

CHARGES: ‘Winkie Rea’

The non-jury trial of former leading loyalist Winston Rea has been postponed so he can undergo a series of medical tests.

Rea may have to undergo MRI or CT scans for a “long-standing illness”, Belfast Crown Court heard yesterday.

Defence counsel Arthur Harvey QC said the 67-year-old, of Springwell Crescent in Groomsport, Co Down, has also been examined by a neurological psychiatrist.

Rea was arraigned in October 2017 and pleaded not guilty to all 19 charges said to have been committed on dates between 1973 and 1996.

Included in the charges faced by ‘Winkie’ Rea are conspiring to murder Catholic men John Devine in July 1989 and John O’Hara in April 1991.

Mr Devine (37), was shot in front of his son in west Belfast while Mr O’Hara, a 41-year-old taxi driver, was lured to his murder in the south of the city.

Rea has also been charged with conspiring with others to threaten to kill LVF leader Billy Wright in August, 1996.

He also pleaded not guilty to firearms and other terror-related charges, including conspiring to possess firearms secured from the Ulster Resistance paramilitary group on dates between November, 1986 and October, 1994.

He is further charged with encouraging the murder of “persons working in shops selling An Phoblacht in republican and nationalist areas” between November, 1977 and October, 1994.

Rea, who was not in court for the proceedings, was due to stand trial on all charges early next month.

At yesterday’s review hearing, Mr Justice Colton heard that Rea had recently been examined by consultant psychiatrist Dr Helen Harbinson about his “cognitive ability” for the trial over a “long standing illness”.

Arthur Harvey QC said that three months ago Rea had a pacemaker device fitted to his heart which had “created a significant number of complications for the MRI and CT scans”.

He added that a medical practitioner had advised the defence that if the scans were to be carried out “eight doctors would have to be present for the removal of the heart pacemaker”.

The defence QC said Rea “will consent to any examination by experts appointed by the prosecution”.

Prosecution counsel Ciaran Murphy QC said he was mindful that “the families of multiple alleged victims will have been preparing themselves” ahead of next month’s trial, adding the provision of expert reports could cause “further delays for a considerable period”.

He urged Mr Justice Colton to fix a new date for the trial in the current court term.

Mr Justice Colton directed that a consultant neurological psychiatrist’s report on Rea be served on the prosecution within three weeks.

The judge said he was requesting the “full co-operation” of all defence medical experts in the case, urging them to comply with his directions which were “in the public interest of the trial process”.

The judge listed the trial November 12 this year.

With many thanks to the: BelfastTelegraph for the original story.

The corrupt Tory/DUP alliance have tried to sneak this bill through parliament!

TEAM named to consider proposals to protect armed forces veterans from prosecution

This bill is trying to be sneaked through British parliament without the consent of Irish victims

A TEAM has been established in Britain’s Ministry of Defence to consider proposals to protect armed forces veterans from prosecution for historical allegations, the defence secretary has announced.

Gavin Williamson told MPs he understands concerns over whether current and former personnel were receiving the legal protection they deserve (for carrying out murder), amid calls for a statute of limitations.

During defence questions in the commons, Tory former minister Sir Henry Bellingham asked Mr Williamson if he would bring forward legislative proposals for a statute of limitations to protect British armed forces veterans from prosecution for historical allegations (including murder). Mr Williamson replied: “I understand concerns over whether serving and former personel are receiving the legal protection and certainty that they deserve.

” I am therefore pleased to announce that I have established a dedicated team within the Ministry of Defence to consider this issue and advise on the way forward. Defence committee chairman and Conservative MP Julian Lewis said his committee would “warmly welcome the setting up of a dedicated team”.

Chief Constable George Hamilton (pictured above on the right) has previously dismissed claims that legacy investigations are focusing mostly on former members of the security forces rather than paramilitaries. Figures released by the RUC/PSNI last year showed that around 70 per cent of investigations into killings during the Troubles do not involve the security forces.

The announcement came hours before MPs debated the North of Ireland’s Budget (No2) Bill, in which former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon (pictured below) sought to amend to stop public money being used to fund historical prosecutions of former service personnel in the North of Ireland.

Secretary of State (SoS) Karen Bradley, moving the Bill at second reading, said: “Passing this budget bill does not remove the pressing need to have locally accountable political leaders in place to take the fundamental decisions that will secure a more sustainable future for the people in the North of Ireland.” She said the bill authorises North of Ireland departments and other bodies to incur expenditure of up to £8.9billion and use resources of up to £9.9bn for the financial year ending March 31 2019.

Ms Bradley said it was a “technical” budget bill although she added she was not dismissing the “constitutional significance” of the UK Parliament delivering this to the North of Ireland.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: “This is a difficult budget, in cash terms, it’s a flat budget and the amount of money available to government departments in the North of Ireland is no different than it was in the previous year, and that does present challenges.” Mr Wilson added the challenges included allocations being based on decisions taken by the assembly nearly two and a half years ago.

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story.

Owners of Poyntzpass bar recall night LVF killers struck

Bernie Canavan was working in the family-run Railway Bar when Philip Allen and his friend Damien Trainor were shot by the LVF in 1998. Picture by Mal McCann.

Co Armagh woman working in the Railway Bar when the LVF killers struck says she will never forget the night two of her customers were gunned down.

Protestant man Philip Allen was shot dead with his Catholic friend Damien Trainor in Poyntzpass 20 years ago tomorrow.

The life-long friends were sitting close to the door of the village pub when the gunmen burst in and ordered them to lie on the floor before killing them both and wounding two others.

Two of Mr Allen’s brothers were also in the bar when the gang struck but managed to escape with their lives.

The double murders took place just weeks before the Good Friday Agreement was signed in April 1998.

Loyalists Stephen McClean, Noel McCready and Ryan Robley were later jailed for their parts in the attack.

A fourth loyalist, suspected informer David Keys, was murdered in jail by the LVF less than two weeks later while on remand.

Bernie Canavan, now aged 84, was behind the bar in her family’s pub that night.

She recounted how two masked gunmen rushed in and opened fire, striking the frame of a door as she made her escape.

“It wasn’t long till they started to shoot,” she said.

“They said ‘lie down’ but then they just started to shoot and I ran up the stairs – they take you into the living room where my husband was.

“I ran in and I turned off the lights.”

Damien Trainor

She believed at the time she might have been the target of the killers.

“I thought they were going to follow me, I don’t know why, it must have been the first reaction – it was me they were looking for.

“I didn’t even think who they were, it’s just I thought they were going to follow me with these guns.

“I went to turn off the lights and I said ‘They are shooting, they are shooting in the bar’.”

After returning downstairs a short time later she said there was a lot of panic.

“We thought the ambulance never would come,” she said.

“I was up and down to see was it coming.

“They actually said they didn’t die until they were up the road but Damien must have been unconscious. He never spoke.

“If any of them had had the luck to be shot down about the legs, I was often thinking that – why did they all have to be shot up in a sort of a fatal place.”

The Railway Bar in Poyntzpass where Philip Allen and his friend Damien Trainor were shot by the LVF in 1998. Picture by Mal McCann.

Mrs Canavan said in the aftermath of the murders her husband Dessie didn’t want to reopen the family business.

“It wasn’t me, my husband said we would never reopen again,” she said.

“Then I took a notion that I wouldn’t let them close me.”

She said she eventually reopened the bar after being contacted by members of the public.

“I came out and I opened it and let a couple in and then that broke the ice,” she said.

Former Armagh manager Brian Canavan said he rushed from training after hearing of the attack. Picture by Mal McCann.

Her son, former Armagh manager Brian Canavan, was training with the squad when he got a call to tell him there had been a shooting at the bar.

He made a dash home, not knowing if his mother was safe.

It wasn’t until he reached Poyntzpass that he was told she had escaped unharmed.

Read more: Mother of Poyntzpass victim believes killers shot Philip Allen and Damien Trainor to clear their own £1,000 drugs debt

Mr Canavan says he has concerns about the circumstances of the attack, especially around the role of David Keys, the suspected informer.

“The bit I could never understand was the police had an informer in the car,” he said.

“One of the drivers was an informer. He maintained he didn’t know where they were going… so I don’t know what happened there.

“They knew the car was stolen in Dromore two days before it.

“The police knew a whole lot afterwards when you started to quiz them, not that they like to be quizzed too much, they knew a bit, they knew there was something going to happen.”

He believes there are still questions that need to be answered.

“I suppose maybe the families don’t think the way I think but I would be more curious – they had an informer,” he said.

“Then you see all these stories coming out now about collusion and everything else you wonder to yourself, well, did somebody inside know anything?

“You don’t know, you will never know because the informer was killed in prison.”

The LVF was formed in 1996 after the UVF expelled its mid-Ulster unit led by notorious killer Billy Wright.

Although it had pockets of support across the north, it was particularly strong in Wright’s mid-Ulster heartland and his murder in prison in January 1997 by the INLA was followed by a series of reprisal killings of innocent Catholics.

The organisation was also involved in a bitter feud with the UVF, which claimed several lives. It called a ceasefire in May 1998 and eventually stood down in 2005.

Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, who has worked with families of LVF victims, claimed it was “no coincidence that the formation of the LVF occurred in the context of a wider securocrat agenda that was also opposed to the peace process”.

“The securocrat agenda was largely driven by the tunnel vision of some within the security, military and intelligence community that sought to militarily defeat republicans rather than engage in the changing political dynamic that the IRA ceasefire created.”

Philip Allen

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story.

Mother of Poyntzpass victim beleives killers shot Philip Allen and Damien Trainor to clear their own £1,000 drugs debt

The murders of lifelong friends Philip Allen and Damien Trainor – one a Protestant, one a Catholic – in a bar in Poyntzpass, Co Armagh 20 years ago were among the most shocking of the Troubles and made headlines around the world.

Ethel Allen, the only surviving parent of the men, tells Connla Young that she can never forgive the killers

Ethel Allen, whose son Philip was killed by the LVF along with his friend Damien Trainor in the Railway Bar in 1998. Picture by Mal McCann.

THE mother of a man shot dead by the LVF 20 years ago believes the killers may have carried out the sectarian attack to clear a £1,000 drugs debt with the loyalist group.

Philip Allen was shot dead along with his close friend Damien Trainor as the pair sat in a bar in Poyntzpass, Co Armagh on March 3 1998.

The brutal double murder made headlines across the globe as it emerged the lifelong pals were from different religious backgrounds.

The SDLP’s Seamus Mallon and former UUP leader David Trimble visited Poyntzpass and met relatives of the two men in a powerful show of unity between nationalists and unionists.

Former secretary of state Mo Mowlam also visited relatives.

The Good Friday Agreement was signed just weeks after the deadly attack at the Railway Bar.

Owners of Poyntzpass bar recall night LVF killers struck

Loyalists Stephen McClean and Noel McCready laughed and joked in court as they were sentenced to life for the savage murders, with a judge saying it “will be remembered as one of the most heinous events in the history of Northern Ireland”.

Stephen McClean

Banbridge man Ryan Robley also pleaded guilty to his part in the killings and was given a lengthy jail term.

A fourth man, suspected informer David Keys, was killed in jail by the LVF while on remand just days after the two friends were murdered.

Noel McCready

McCready and McClean were released from prison in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement but were later arrested after a man was badly beaten in a row over paramilitary flag.

David Keys

Although they were acquitted, then secretary of state Peter Mandelson revoked their early release licences and they remained in prison until 2010.

Philip Allen’s mother Ethel is the last surviving parent of the two men who were killed.

She now believes McClean and McCready took part in the murders to clear a £1,000 drug debt to the LVF.

“I don’t know why they picked Philip and Damien but I was told that they owed £1,000 for drugs and if they killed two Catholics that was their bill paid for. And that came from a reliable source,” she said.

“But they didn’t kill two Catholics, they didn’t care.

“Why was them boys’ two lives only worth £500? A life is worth a hell of a lot more than that.

Damien Trainor

Mrs Allen praised her son as a hard worker.

“He was quiet and was a good child and he worked hard,” she said.

“He never was on the broo for the length of time he lived.”

The 74-year-old said she can’t forgive the men who murdered Philip.

“No, nor forget. I couldn’t,” she said.

“I don’t know whether that’s because I’m not religious.

“I don’t know how anyone can stand up and say that ‘I forgive them for what they done’, I can’t.

“I have only three grandchildren, I could have had six grandchildren.

“I could have seen Philly happily married.”

However, Mrs Allen said she may be willing to meet the killers, who she says knew both victims.

“I think I would but they would have to answer the questions I wanted answered, it wouldn’t be me just answering their questions,” she said.

“Why did they do it whenever they knew the boys – were the two boys easy targets?

“The pub was full because there was sale on, there was plenty of other ones there – why was it just them two?”

Philip Allen

At the time of his death Mr Allen was engaged to be married to his long-time girlfriend Carol Magill and had asked Mr Trainor to be his best man.

His mother said the publication of a photograph of Stephen McClean in a local newspaper in recent years caused her further hurt.

“McLean, he is married now and he has two of a family,” she said.

“It hurt that he was able to live and get married and my son wasn’t.”

The grandmother revealed that the close friends died at the same place on the road as they were being brought to hospital.

“The two of them died at the same spot going in the two ambulances to the hospital,” she said.

“The ambulance drivers said they never had an experience like it before.

“It was as if the two boys was still in contact with one another.

“And I think it was Damien that actually died first and whenever Philly came to the same spot he died too.”

Mrs Allen said the murders brought the people of the area closer together.

“The pass always was close and we always thought it would never happen to us because we were so close,” she said.

The grieving mother said she intends to put flowers at her son’s grave and otherwise remain at home his anniversary tomorrow.

“I find it hard to talk about it,” she said.

“It’s all right talking now… but the nearer it gets, then it gets harder.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story.

Poyntzpass murders committed ‘to clear killers’ LVF drug debt’

THE sectarian murders of two friends in Co Armagh 20 years ago may have been carried out because the killers had a £1,000 drugs debt with the LVF.

* ‘I CAN’T FORGIVE OR FORGET’: Ethel Allen, whose son Philip was murdered by the LVF along with his friend Damien Trainor in the Railway Bar in Poyntzpass in 1998.

Philip Allen and Damien Trainor – one a Protestant, the other a Catholic – were shot dead as they sat togeather in a bar in Poyntzpass on March 3rd 1988. The attack came just weeks before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and made headlines around the world. Loyalists Stephen McClean and Noel McGready laughed in court when they were sentenced to life for the savage murders, with a judge saying it “will be remembered as one of the most heinous events in the history of the North of Ireland”.

Speaking ahead of the 20th anniversary of her son’s murder tommorow, Mr Allen’s mother Ethel says she can never forgive the killers. ” No, nor forget. I couldn’t,” she says. “I have only three grand-children. I could have had six grandchildren. “I could have seen Philly happily married.”

Mrs Allen (74), the last surviving parent of the two men, also reveals she was told that McClean and McCready may have carried out the murders to clear a drug debt with the LVF. “I don’t know why they picked Philip and Damien but I was told that they owed £1,000 for drugs and if they killed two Catholics that was their bill paid for. That came from a reliable source,” she says. “But they didn’t kill two Catholics. They didn’t care “Why was them boys’ two lives only worth £500? A life is worth a hell of a lot more than that.” In another interview in The Irish News today, a woman working at the Railway Bar last night recalls the moment the killers struck. Bernie Canavan (84) says bullets struck the frame of a door as she made her escape. “They said ‘lie down’ but then they just started to shoot and I ran up the stairs… I thought they were going to follow me,” she says.

With many thanks to: Connla Young and The Irish News for the origional story.

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