Greysteel massacre: Families urge politicians to prevent attacks happening again

The families of those killed in one of the most shocking attacks of Northern Ireland’s Troubles have urged politicians to make sure it never happens again.

Hundreds of people gathered in Greysteel, Co Londonderry to mark the 25th anniversary of the night loyalist gunmen burst into a busy bar and opened fire.

Daughter of John Burns, Gillian holding a wreath, as other members of the Greysteel massacre families look on during a vigil to commemorate the 25th anniversary of eight people being murdered on 30 October 1993 by members of the UFF. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Daughter of John Burns, Gillian holding a wreath, as other members of the Greysteel massacre families look on during a vigil to commemorate the 25th anniversary of eight people being murdered on 30 October 1993 by members of the UFF. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Wreaths and flowers were laid in memory of the victims at a plaque outside the Rising Sun pub, where the atrocity took place.

Seven civilians, both Catholic and Protestant, were killed on October 30, 1993, while an eighth man died from his injuries months later.

The killers shouted “trick or treat” before pulling the trigger.

Karen Thompson, 19, Steven Mullan, 20, Moira Duddy, 59, Joseph McDermott, 60, James Moore, 81, John Moyne, 50, John Burns, 54 and Victor Montgomery, 76 were remembered during a special Mass at the nearby Star of the Sea church.

Daughter of John Burns, Gillian laying a wreath, as seven other members of the Greysteel massacre families look on during a vigil to commemorate the 25th anniversary of eight people being murdered on 30 October 1993 by members of the UFF. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Daughter of John Burns, Gillian laying a wreath, as seven other members of the Greysteel massacre families look on during a vigil to commemorate the 25th anniversary of eight people being murdered on 30 October 1993 by members of the UFF. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Monsignor Andrew Dolan paid tribute to the “positive and dignified” response of the Greysteel families over the years to “such an evil deed”.

He told the service that during a recent meeting with the families, they noted “we are living in shaky times”, with people uncertain about how things are going to turn out.

He said they asked him to relay the message to public representatives to do “all you can to ensure this never happens again”.

“I hope you are listening,” he added to those gathered in the church which included a number of politicians.

Flowers laid at the memorial site of the Greysteel massacre after a vigil to commemorate the 25th anniversary of eight people being murdered on 30 October 1993 by members of the UFF. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Flowers laid at the memorial site of the Greysteel massacre after a vigil to commemorate the 25th anniversary of eight people being murdered on 30 October 1993 by members of the UFF. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, his predecessor Mark Durkan, Alliance leader Naomi Long, Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald and Ulster Unionist councillors Richard Holmes, Norman Hillis and William McCandless were among those present.

A number of Protestant religious ministers were also there.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has been collapsed since 2017. The powersharing government fell following disagreements between the leader parties, the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein.

Following the service, hundreds of people gathered at the Rising Sun bar.

The families of those killed laid wreaths and bouquets of flowers at the memorial plaque.

The Greysteel shootings were claimed by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) who said the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) had carried out the attack in retaliation for the IRA’s bombing of a fish shop on the Shankhill Road in Belfast the week before.

Ten people, including one of the IRA bombers, died in that attack.

In response, the UDA orchestrated a series of so-called “revenge” attacks against Catholic civilians.

The horrifying series culminated in the Greysteel shootings.

Alan McBride, whose wife Sharon was amongst those killed in the Shankill bomb, attended the memorial event in Greysteel.

“This is my first time in Greysteel, I wanted to be here on the 25th anniversary to show my support and solidarity with the families because we all suffered and the people that murdered my wife and the people that murdered in Greysteel were two sides of the one coin in terms of bringing terror, hurt and anguish to many families,” he said.

In February 1995, four men were convicted of carrying out the Greysteel shootings.

Stephen Irwin, Jeffrey Deeney, Torrens Knight and Brian McNeill received life sentences for their involvement in the attack.

However they were released early in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.