Teebane widow: Families angry that we’ve been forgotten about

Jean Caldwell said that politicians did not want to know about the Teebane case
Jean Caldwell said that politicians did not want to know about the Teebane case

A woman whose husband was one of eight men murdered by the IRA at Teebane 24 years ago this week says there is still much anger among the families.

The IRA bomb, on January 17 1992 in Co Tyrone, destroyed a van carrying 14 civilian Army base workers and left six of them seriously injured.

Jean Caldwell, whose husband Cecil was one of those killed, told the News Letter: “They ruined my life and ruined my children’s life too.”

For her, Christmas marks the annual emotional build up to the anniversary.

“You know what’s coming ahead of you. And then you have the whole weekend and then you kind of relive that weekend over and over.

“I am ok today (Wednesday) – it was hard probably up until yesterday but now it is behind me now for another few months.”

Standing at the bomb location on Sunday for the annual remembrance service “took you right back to the actual night that it happened” she said.

“On that Friday night I was out at the shop hoping to meet my husband about 5.30pm and I heard the bang going off.

“And I had that thought in my head – this is it, something has happened to our men.”

Ambulances and fire engines raced out the road and her husband did not appear home. However, she was not officially told of his death until 10.30pm.

“He was a very quiet, hard-working wee man. He just lived for his family and his work.”

In the immediate aftermath the anger was “unbelievable” she said.

“There was also a lot of hatred at that time but I have to say, that has worn off because I have to say if you did bear that, it would eat you away.

“I would have had a lot of support from Catholic friends.”

Several hundred family and friends attended the annual roadside service at the spot of the massacre on Sunday.

There were six families there who lost loved ones in the 1976 Kingsmills massacre in south Armagh.

“I thought how nice it was of them to take the time, because I know they are going through a hard time at the minute.”

The mood among the Teebane families now “is that we are angry that have been forgotten about” she added.

Politicians “do not want to know” when approached about the case, she said.

“I honestly believe this could have been prevented and that they were trying to protect an informer.”

The Historical Enquiries Team published its report on the attack in 2012.

Nobody has ever been charged or convicted for the attack.