ORANGE VICTIMS DAY: Lack of murder convictions ‘continues to eat at people’

Norman McMullan at the Tullywhisker memorial plaque
Norman McMullan at the Tullywhisker memorial plaque

Norman McMullan has been a member of Tullywhisker Border Guards lodge for more than five decades and was an office holder for many years during the Troubles.

He personally knew all six members who were murdered by terrorists between 1971 and 1991.

The meetings themselves were always high risk, and we always kept the place locked up when we were in the hall

“All of the deaths were equally shocking. They were just people you knew who were out doing their jobs, doing their day’s work and then maybe part-time UDR and things like that,” he said.

“There was a tradition in the area of joining the B Specials back at that time, and joining the UDR and the RUC. The people were prepared to stand for their country.

“That was the way it was...when the call came out you answered it. But that meant you needed to have eyes in the back of your head. And with so many people connected to the security forces in the lodge then the meetings themselves were always high risk.

“We always kept the place locked up when we were in the hall for the meetings but that wouldn’t have stopped [the terrorists] getting in. They would have burst their way through it but the thought of that didn’t stop us. We just continued on.”

Mr McMullan said there is a sense of relief that times have changed for the better.

“Through it all there was still good relations between the two communities.”

He also said a strong sense of community has prevailed throughout the years, and the Orange Order has played its part in fostering a spirit of togetherness.

“There are things we come together with other nearby lodges for, like if one was having a harvest service maybe we would attend that, and then if we were having a shooting match they would come to us.”

Commenting on the memories of those who knew the murdered lodge members, Mr McMullan said time has eased some of the pain but the six are never forgotten.

“The main thing annoying people now is the fact that no one has been caught or tried for any of the murders. That keeps coming up in conversation and it eats away at people.

“As far as we are concerned, those six names are always at the forefront of what we do as a lodge. That was a lot of people to lose for such a small area.

“Tyrone and the Castlederg area suffered badly. We certainly had it tough, but it’s good to see we now live in better times.”