Heavily armed IRA trio on new legacy inquest list

Three heavily armed Tyrone IRA men killed by the SAS – including a cousin of Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill – are among 14 people to feature on a list of new Troubles legacy inquests.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 3:33 pm
The IRA funeral of Lawrence McNally who was shot dead by the SAS in Coagh, Co Tyrone in 1991. Photo: Pacemaker
The IRA funeral of Lawrence McNally who was shot dead by the SAS in Coagh, Co Tyrone in 1991. Photo: Pacemaker

Michael James ‘Pete’ Ryan, Anthony Patrick ‘Tony’ Doris and Lawrence McNally were shot dead on June 3, 1991 in Coagh, while in a hijacked car and in possession of AKM assault rifles.

Tony Doris is widely reported to be a first cousin deputy First Minister Ms O’Neill.

One of the rifles recovered from the vehicle had been used by the IRA to kill three people.

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Another of the fresh inquests will examine the circumstances surrounding the death of Lurgan man Sam Marshall in the Co Armagh town in March 1990.

Marshall was in the company of high-profile republican Colin Duffy and another man when he was shot by UVF gunmen who were travelling along North Street in a Rover car.

All three had been charged with possession of ammunition. They were walking back to the Kilwilkie estate, having signed bail at the local RUC station, when they were attacked.

The An Phoblacht publication described Marshall as a “Lurgan republican”.

The new inquests are deemed by the Department of Justice legacy inquest unit to be at a “state of readiness” that makes them suitable for hearing in Year 2 of the five-year plan.

The five-year plan was revealed in 2019 as a way of speeding up legacy inquest arrangements.

It will deal with more than 50 inquest cases relating to 93 deaths and is expected to cost around £55 million in total.

The Year 2 inquests involve eight separate inquests and a total of 14 deaths.

As well as the Coagh incident and the murder of Sam Marshall, the coroner will examine the death of John Moran.

Mr Moran, 19, was fatally injured when loyalists launched a gun and bomb attack on Kelly’s bar in west Belfast on May 13, 1972.

Another five deaths – known as the Springhill group – are also now listed for a full hearing.

Others include Hugh Gerard Coney from Coalisland, who was shot by a soldier as he and other republican internees attempted to escape from Long Kesh in November 1974, LVF murder victim Seamus Patrick Dillon from Stewartstown, and Fergal McCusker from Maghera who was kidnapped and shot dead by loyalist terrorists in January 1998.

The final name on the list is 14-year-old Desmond Healey from the Lenadoon area of Belfast.

He is reported to have been shot dead by a soldier during internment related street disturbances in the west of the city on August 9, 1971.

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