Ulster Human Rights Watch, which works for victims of terrorism, discussed the consultation on proposals to deal with the past in Lurgan yesterday. MARY McCURRIE, whose father Jim was murdered by the IRA in east Belfast in 1970, gave the following emotional address. We are we are using as the latest in our legacy series (links to rest of series at bottom of this article):
My name is Mary McCurrie and I come from east Belfast.
On June 27/28 1970 in a pre-planned and unprovoked attack, and using the grounds of St Matthews Roman Catholic chapel as cover, the Provisional IRA without warning opened fire on unarmed innocent Protestants in the Newtownards Road area.
Two men were murdered, one of those was my father Jimmy McCurrie, gunned down as he made his way home through streets he had walked in all his life.
That night the Provos turned what had been a mixed area into a republican stronghold.
The other unarmed man murdered was Robert Neill.
Over that weekend a further four unarmed Protestants were murdered by IRA gunfire and approximately 28 innocents wounded.
My father’s inquest returned an ‘open verdict,’ which we were led to believe — at the time — was the best possible result as it meant that if any subsequent investigation uncovered any evidence, my father’s murder could be re-investigated.
Over the years I have come to conclusion that an ‘open verdict’ was easy option ‘A’ for the government at that time because that pre-planned IRA gun battle on June 27/28 1970 took the government and security forces completely by surprise.
The ‘open verdict’ meant that with the escalating violence my father’s murder was not investigated properly, in effect shoved to one side whilst more pressing matters took precedence.
In fact that whole weekend, starting with the pre-planned IRA attack on the Whiterock Parade on the afternoon of the 27th and the continuing pre-planned IRA gun attacks in east Belfast have been buried in the Sinn Fein-IRA re-writing of history.
Pre-planned attacks on innocent unarmed Protestants do not suit the current narrative.
As for this legacy document on the proposals to deal with the past, it is another government acknowledgement that: ‘Yes, the government knows what atrocities you have carried out, however here is another On The Run letter.’ This document is another cop out so that hard decisions do not have to be confronted.
And our elected representatives can do a ‘Pontius Pilate’ and wash their hands.
The Historical Investigation Unit (HIU). Will this have any clout?
Will the unit investigate all terrorist atrocities or will those cases already looked at by the HET be excluded?
What does that mean for any murder victims whose inquest returned an “open verdict”?
I know the name of the so-called IRA commander who was in the grounds of the chapel that night and when I asked the HET to interview him I was told: “He does not want to talk to us and we can’t make him.”
Will the HIU have any more authority than the HET or will they only pursue retired army and RUC personnel?
The Oral History Archive: I will say what happened to my father and not have it edited in any way by whatever a ‘deputy keeper’ is.
If someone challenges what I say I should be informed and have the right to ask them to provide proof and to see the proof of their challenge before it becomes part of the archive.
The ‘deputy keeper’ of this archive should not be a political person as he or she will only bring their own political agendas.
He or she should not be immune from prosecution, which the document says they will be.
To keep them honest, they should be on the minimum wage as opposed to ‘film star’ wages that no doubt have been earmarked for this and all other legacy positions arising from this document.
More importantly any and all reports from this document should be made public.
Over the years far too many secrets and conclusions have been made behind closed doors.
This document does nothing for innocent victims who had their lives taken by a terrorist’s bullet or bomb.
This document does nothing for the innocent people who had their livelihoods destroyed by terrorists and this document does nothing for the innocent people left disabled by these terrorists.
Being injured whilst planting a bomb to murder and destroy does not make you a victim.
It makes you a craven coward.
This document confirms the current narrative that justice means it is OK to pre-plan and carry out the murder of innocent men, women and children. It is OK to plant bombs and cause wholesale destruction because the terrorists got out of jail on the Good Friday Agreement and then Sinn Fein-IRA got On The Run letters while the families of the innocent victims of terrorist atrocities were told to move on.
Nothing these terrorists did was ‘spur of the moment’. Every action was pre-planned and pre-meditated.
I say the families of the innocent victims should organise a campaign to bring terrorists to justice and to bring litigation to the door of Sinn Fein-IRA.
As innocent victims and families we are having justice taken from us. But we have the truth in the sense that we know who the murderers were. We are not afraid to name the cowards and so the truth will survive.
• Mary McCurrie lives in east Belfast and was 19 at the time of her father’s murder. She says that she has been battling for 48 years to get the truth on the killing
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