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Bookies’ massacre families embark on US lobbying trip

By Paul Ainsworth

THE horror of the Ormeau Road bookies massacre will be relayed on US radio this week as relatives of the victims lobby for support among Irish Americans.

Relatives including Tommy Duffin, whose father Jack was the oldest victim of the 1992 UFF atrocity, are in America over the St Patrick’s Day period, where they will highlight the need for an independent inquiry into the shootings.

The group, which also includes Mark Sykes, whose 18-year-old brother-in-law was killed in the sectarian attack, are part of a larger Relatives for Justice delegation which also includes loved ones of those killed in the Loughgall Ambush in 1987.

Politicians and prominent Irish American business leaders will be told of collusion in the lower Ormeau murders, while relatives will also be appearing on radio station, Irish Radio Network to tell listeners of their experience and the quest for the truth from the British government. Meanwhile, it is hoped the RFJ delegation will meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny who is in Washington for the traditional St Patrick’s shamrock ceremony involving President Obama at the White House.

Speaking ahead of his visit Tommy Duffin said: “Some of us will be appearing on the Adrian Flannelly show in New York to tell listeners our story and what we want. We also have meetings lined up with prominent activist Father Sean McManus, who has previously met such groups as the Ballymurphy Massacre truth campaigners. We will be bringing copies of the recently-published RFJ report into Sean Grahams and will be calling for support for the inquiry and an apology from the British.”

The South Belfast News can also reveal the delegation will meet Chairman of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, William Flynn in Washington DC, who has a long-standing interest in the peace process.

The delegation’s legal representative, Belfast lawyer Niall Murphy, said that the issue of collusion would be a key factor in all meetings during the week-long trip.

“We will be updating interested parties on the High Court civil proceedings which have already commenced and urging those with influence to bring their political weight to bear, in ensuring the British Government is candid and honest.

“The truth of how the automatic weapon came to be in Belfast to be used in the bookmakers that day is a central theme to the litigation, as the families understand that the weapon was escorted to Ireland from South Africa by MOD agent Brian Nelson, and that the consignment was paid for and supervised at all stages by the British Government.”


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