Miami Showband massacre: ‘Our fight for justice goes on’

Des McAlea said the events are with him '24 hours a day, 365 days a year'
Des McAlea said the events are with him '24 hours a day, 365 days a year'

While the Miami Showband survivors say they do not want to see any further charges brought against men involved in the July 1975 atrocity, they say “our fight for justice goes on through the courts”.

Three members of the band were shot dead when a UVF gang ambushed their minibus as they travelled home to Dublin after a gig in Banbridge.

The band thought it was a military checkpoint.

Three years ago a civil case was brought against the Ministry of Defence and PSNI by survivors Stephen Travers and Des McAlea, and the widows of Fran O’Toole and Brian McCoy.

Solicitor Michael Flanigan told the News Letter: “The civil proceedings will focus on the responsibility of the MOD for serving soldiers, the admissions policy for the UDR as well as wider issues of collusion.”

Mr Flanigan said the litigation in the civil case, which has been ongoing for three years, is now at the stage of disclosure of documents.

Des said the band was reformed after the tragedy “but it was never the same because we were missing Fran, Brian and Tony”.

“I then emigrated to South Africa with my wife for 23 years as I didn’t feel safe playing gigs in Northern Ireland and we got death threats,” he added.

“Really what happened that night changed my life. To this day I have photographs of the three lads who died here in my apartment and I live with it every day. I get up in the morning and walk into the lounge and there they are. It is with you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“It will never go away until the day I die.”

He added that his musician friends “were three lovely guys who were just musicians”.

“They played for everyone no matter what colour or creed.”