Family of 17-year-old cousin of Gerry Adams, abducted and murdered by loyalists, launch campaign to have killers brought to justice

‘Agents of the state killed our brother’

By Kieran Hughes

The family of an Ardoyne teenager who was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries 38 years ago on Saturday (October 13) are to begin a campaign to expose the truth surrounding the circumstances of his death.

Ciarán Murphy, from Strathroy Park in Ardoyne, was only 17-years-old in 1974 when he was shot by the UVF after a night out with friends.

Ciarán, who was a cousin of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, was walking home along the Cliftonville Road when he was dragged into the back of a car by a loyalist murder gang, driven around North Belfast and brought to a loyalist drinking den and shot. His body was found in Daddy’s Lane off the Hightown Road.

Ciarán’s family were led to believe by the RUC that he was “rompered” – a brutal and slow death were the victim is tortured. However two years ago during a Historical Enquiries Team enquiry Ciarán’s family saw images of his autopsy that showed no signs of torture.

His family believe those responsible for his death were British government agents and operated under Robert James Campbell, the only person convicted for the McGurk’s Bar bombing. Only one person, Aubery Tarr, was ever convicted of Ciarán’s murder. His family want more people held accountable, including the British state who they believe colluded in his killing.

Pat Murphy, Ciarán’s brother, says his family want to “expose the truth surrounding the circumstances of Ciarán’s murder”.

“We want to see Ciaran killers, who were agents of the state brought to justice,” he said.

“We also want to start helping other families like ours to get justice for their loved ones in whatever way we can. Ciarán Murphy was just one of hundreds of innocents murdered in North Belfast. We hope to get justice for them all.”

On Saturday night (October 13) the family will officially launch their campaign, Justice for Ciarán, at a special event at Ardoyne Kickhams GAC.

Author Ciarán MacAirt, whose new book The McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for Truth also tells Ciarán’s story, has been helping the Murphy family in their quest for justice.

“Ciarán’s family were very kind to have given me permission to use their years of research and allow me to tell his story in my book,” said Ciarán.

“Readers of my book will now know how important I consider Ciarán’s case to be for the historical record so it will be a great honour to stand should-to-shoulder with his family on the night.”

The night will also honour the owner of McGurk’s Bar and former Kickhams Vice-President Paddy McGurk and show support for the McGurk’s Bar commemoration committee and the families’ ongoing campaign for truth.

“We are all honoured by the support of Ardoyne Kickhams and anticipate a night of great craic and traditional music, especially since some of the country’s pre-eminent musicians, including renowned fiddler, Paddy Glackin, will be playing,” he said.

The event will be in Ardoyne GAC on Saturday, October 13. Doors open at 8pm and entrance is only £3.

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