Mid Ulster UVF victims’ families call for public inquiry into murders

The families of some of those killed by the Mid Ulster UVF have called for a full public inquiry after a BBC Spotlight investigation aired this week.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 5:14 pm
PACEMAKER PRESS 28/10/1993 1478/93 Scene of shooting at the Slopes Bleary. Rory and Gerard Cairns were shot by gunmen as they watched TV in the house.

The programme claimed at least two of the men behind the killings, Billy Wright and Robin Jackson, had been recruited as ‘state agents’.

During the programme the Cairns family recall the night two gunmen came into their Bleary home on October 28, 1993, and killed Gerard (22) and Rory (18).

It was Róisín Cairns’ 11th birthday and they had just had a party. After a family photo, Gerard and Rory stayed with their little sister while the rest of the family went out.

She revealed: “I just froze. You had two men in navy blue boiler suits and black balaclavas and huge guns. One of the men rushes into the living room and another one puts his finger up to his mouth and looks at me. He stands and watches me and I am frozen. I could hear smashing and glass.”

Róisín spoke of how she wanted to put her birthday cake in her brothers’ coffins. She still has the birthday card from Gerard - with a bullet hole in it and a few specks of blood. “There’s no words for the pain or how harrowing that felt,” she said.

Spotlight had uncovered that from the mid 80s loyalists appeared to be involved in more targeted killings, focusing on republicans or those linked to republicans.

Brendan Duffy’s sister Eileen was just 19 when she was one of three, Katrina Rennie (16) and Brian Frizzell (29) gunned down by the gang in a mobile shop in Craigavon in 1991. He has called for a full investigation.

And a joint statement from some of the families of those murdered said: “In light of tonight’s Spotlight program we are calling for a full public inquiry into the activities of the Mid Ulster UVF and the state security services. The state was supposed to protect its citizens but they chose to collude with its agents in the UVF to murder our loved ones.

“Mandy McAuley, and the Spotlight investigation team have uncovered a web of collusion that involves the police, the military and MI5. The only possible way we can hope to uncover the full facts is through an independent public inquiry, nothing else will suffice.

“We know from Spotlight’s investigations that there were only a handful of people involved in the murders, so we are making a direct appeal to ordinary decent Unionists/Protestants to come forward with whatever they know about this gang. Loyalism isn’t about shooting a pregnant woman in front of their children, isn’t about shooting school children in taxi offices, mobile shops or in their homes. It wasn’t about killing pensioners in their bedclothes or shooting innocent men going about their day’s work.

“These actions have sullied the cause of Loyalism. We know that there are decent Loyalists out there who are deeply ashamed of these actions. We are asking them to reflect on their consciences and stop protecting these paid state agents by staying silent. Ultimately both Nationalists/Unionists victims are the same, we both seek the same truth and justice for our loved ones.”