IRA victim: Why are we holding yet another inquest into Loughgall gang?

Serena Hamilton, whose soldier father David Graham was murdered by the IRA
Serena Hamilton, whose soldier father David Graham was murdered by the IRA

The daughter of a UDR soldier shot dead by republicans has derided the fact that eight IRA men killed in the Loughgall ambush are now the subject of another inquest hearing.

Serena Hamilton, 48 and from Cookstown, lost her father David Graham in a 1977 gun attack at the Coalisland factory he worked at when she was seven-and-a-half.

She was speaking as the News Letter revealed that 35 of the 94 Troubles deaths currently awaiting inquest hearings are of paramilitaries – READ MORE HERE.

Told of the fact that at least 35 of those on the inquest list were paramilitaries, she said: “How do you justify that?”

When it came to the Loughgall gang, who are among those on the list, she said: “I could do their inquest for them.

“I don’t know what the families at Loughgall are looking an inquest for.

“Ask them the question: what were their loved ones doing the day they were in Loughgall? Why were they armed to the teeth with ammunition, guns – what were they going to do that day?

“What about the [family members] they were going to murder that day?

“It wasn’t a shopping trip.”

According to the book Lost Lives, an earlier inquest was told the gang had 29 weapons when they were killed.

Mrs Hamilton does not believe there will be any stopping such new inquests, and believes a deal to permit them is “part of the negotiations” among the political parties.

Her father died on March 25, 1977. This year was the 40th anniversary of his death – but it fell the same week Martin McGuinness died, and she declared herself “sickened” at the media’s focus upon on the Sinn Fein man, rather than upon men like her father.