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1969 Pogroms: Sam’s battle to find justice for his dad

POGROM: Sam McLarnon with a picture of his father Samuel (27) murdered 50 years ago in August 1969
POGROM: Sam McLarnon with a picture of his father Samuel (27) murdered 50 years ago in August 1969
By Conor McParland

THE son of an Ardoyne man murdered during the pogrom in August 1969 says he fears his family will never get justice.

Today (Thursday) marks the 50th anniversary of the day Samuel McLarnon (27) and Michael Lynch (28) were shot by the RUC in Ardoyne on August 15, 1969.

Sam McLarnon was just two years old on that fateful night and he spoke to the North Belfast News in his Ligoniel home half a century on from that fateful night.

“August 1969 was a turning point,” he explained.

“People were in complete shock that the RUC were firing live rounds. They had never seen anything like it before.

“One person described it to me as being like aliens had landed in the street.

“There were white flashes going up and down the street but nobody thought it was real.

“30 people were wounded and two were shot dead – my father and Michael Lynch, who was shot nearby.

“My father was in his house in Herbert Street with his wife and children when he went to pull down the blinds at the window and a cop took aim and shot him dead.”

And he told us that the battle to get to the truth of his dad’s killing has reached a standstill.

“When I used to tell people my father was shot dead by the RUC, the response was, well what did he do? He was an innocent men in the house with his wife and kids.

“Even today, that narrative remains to some extent. There is never the question over who pulled the trigger when there should be.

“This is the reality of what happened to my father. I am not making it up.

“I was engaged with the Police Ombudsman office for over eight years and got word back a few months ago to say that of the three RUC officers who had sub-machine guns that night two have passed away and the other has Alzheimer’s. There were four in the jeep so I don’t know why he has been disregarded.

“It looks like, as a family, we will never get justice and that a line has now been ruled under it.

“It would have been nice for my mother and his older brothers to get justice as they are getting on a bit.

“I always hear people tell me my father was a nice man and innocent and did nothing wrong that night. I have so much respect for the people of Ardoyne.”

Last Sunday, a plaque was unveiled in memory of Samuel McLarnon and Michael Lynch in Ardoyne as part of the 50th anniversary commemorations.

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