Protestant mum shot by UVF is remembered on new plaque

Portadown Park
Portadown Park

A Portadown family have dedicated a plaque in memory of their mother who was murdered by the UVF in 1975.

Dorothy Trainor was gunned down on April 1, 1975, by loyalists who seriously injured her Catholic husband Malachy.

The couple were walking home through the People’s Park from a night out at the British Legion Club when they were targeted by loyalist gunmen.

Malachy was hit in the chest and neck and survived, but his Protestant wife Dorothy (51), who was shot in the back, died from her injuries.

It was the start of a campaign against the family who believe they were targeted because they were from a ‘mixed’ family.

Later that year in December the same gang tried to kill the entire family by placing a bomb against the gable wall of their home. It killed 17-year-old Ronald instantly. Three years later the UVF shot dead a second brother Tommy.

Dorothy Gates had met Malachy Trainor while working at a munitions factory in Coventry during the Second World War.

They returned to live in the Brownstown estate but the family’s lives changed when the Troubles started.

Their son Frank, who was the eldest of the 11 siblings, returned from Australia when his mum was murdered and took over caring for his family.

“Our father was a broken man after the shooting and then the bombing,” said Frank. “One constable took a statement from me after the bomb and I never heard another thing about it. There was no real investigation into our mother’s murder or the bombing of our house.

“We don’t know why we were targeted - maybe because they were a mixed marriage. There was a lot of sectarianism in Portadown at the time.

“After our mother was murdered and then the bombing that killed Ronald, no-one ever called to our door, not a clergyman, not a single politician.”

Dorothy Trainor is buried in Drumcree Cemetery while her two sons are buried in the nearby Catholic graveyard - and her husband, who passed away in 1982, is interred in Milltown Cemetery.

The family gathered at the park this week, where they lost their mother 40 years ago, to dedicate a small plaque in her memory.

An Historical Enquiries Team report found there had been no proper investigation into the murder. The guns used point to her being another victim of the infamous Glenanne Gang, which was blamed for many killings.