‘Troubles amnesty is the greatest betrayal of all’

Sammy Heenan, the son of a Co Down man murdered by the IRA, has described a de facto amnesty for his killers as “the greatest betrayal of all”.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 7:00 am
Sammy Heenan, at his remote farm in the hills around Leitrim were his father was murdered by the IRA in 1985

He was speaking after the government officially unveiled plans to axe all investigations into pre-1998 attacks,

He said: “On May 3, 1985 the South Down PIRA arrived at my home in the rural Dromara hills of Co Down.

“The gunman hid in an outside toilet and waited for my father to emerge from our home. My father was then forced to his knees and shot twice in the top of the head at point blank range.

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“After hearing the shots and his final dying scream I found my father’s bloodstained body – an image I can never forget and one which forever haunts me. I ran half a mile to my neighbour’s home along my lonely country road sobbing, I was only 12-years-old.

“I always lived my life in the hope and expectation that one day those who perpetrated this depraved crime would face due process and the full implementation of the justice system. At the very least that’s what I was promised as a distressed 12-year-old child and in my innocence and vulnerability I believed those words.

“No one has been made amenable for my father’s murder and I appreciate the challenge facing the authorities but no one has the right to close my father’s file. To do so humiliates and denigrates the value of his life and thousands of others.

“Over the subsequent years the Prisoner Release Programme, contained within the Belfast Agreement, was the earthquake and we the innocent victims have been experiencing the aftershocks even since, culminating in this the greatest betrayal of all.

“Those who gave their lives and suffered horrendous injuries for the preservation of peace and the defeat of terrorism have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency to assuage the spinelessness of a treacherous British administration and many who occupy the middle ground of Northern Ireland.”

He added: “Lois McMaster Bujold said: ‘The dead cannot cry out for justice, it is the duty of the living to do so for them’.”

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