Catholic church urged to break silence on terror ‘glorification’

Terence McKeever
Terence McKeever

A Catholic IRA victim has urged her Church to do more to distance itself from the “glorification” of terrorism after its premises were used for a republican gathering.

A commemoration for eight IRA men shot dead by the SAS at Loughgall, held on Sunday, April 30, has been widely criticised.

At the event, the Sinn Féin Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill described the eight IRA men as “patriot dead”.

Grounds at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Altmore, Co Tyrone were used as an assembly point for the republican parade.

The Catholic Church has been urged to distance itself from the commemoration.

Karen McKeever, whose brother Terence was murdered by the IRA on June 16, 1986, has said the church should speak out to condemn such parades.

Terence McKeever, a 29-year-old electrical contractor, had carried out work across the island of Ireland.

He had worked in Garda stations and in RUC stations, in Irish army barracks and in British army barracks, and in other public sector facilities.

He was found dead near the Irish Republic border at Mullaghduff Bridge, Cullyhanna, Co Armagh.

The IRA claimed Mr McKeever had been warned to discontinue electrical work for the security forces.

His sister, Karen, was aged just 18 at the time.

She said this week she had been “encouraged” by the comments of Archbishop Eamon Martin, the leader of Catholicism in Ireland, about those murdered by the IRA whose bodies have never been discovered, known as the ‘disappeared’.

Archbishop Martin had said there was an urgent need to develop truth-telling mechanisms for historic violence.

Karen McKeever said the Archbishop should take a further step and distance the church entirely from any “glorification” of IRA violence

She said: “Terrence was a lot older than me, he was 29 when he was shot. His whole life was in front of him.

“He was like another father figure to me – I was his only sister.

“My brother was innocent. My brother was known as a collaborator at the time but we did all the public service work, both north and south.

She added: “I would like to see the Catholic Church speak out and say that they won’t have anything to do with these things any more. It’s glorification.”

The News Letter has on repeated occasions sought comment from the Catholic Church on the Loughgall Commemoration but no reply has been received.