Thursday, January 18, 2007

Justice For The Reaveys

The area around Whitecross and Kingsmills is among the most beautiful places in Ireland, but in the middle of the 1970s the area was soaked in blood. The night before ten Protestant workmen were slaughtered by the IRA at Kingsmills in the largest sectarian killing in south Armagh since the Altnaveigh Massacre, a security force/ UVF murder gang gunned down three members of the Reavey family in their house at Whitecross. Not only were John Martin, Brian and Anthony Reavey slain, but a vicious whispering campaign following the murders spread the false rumour that they were in the IRA, and the family suffered terrible security force harrassment. To top it all, in 1999 Ian Paisley used the cowardly cover of parliamentary privilege to accuse the victims' brother Eugene of being in the IRA.

Thankfully Eugene has received an apology from the Historical Enquiries Team for the scandalous treatment his family received from several government bodies following the murders, although we still await the full truth to be revealed regarding collusion in the murders. Meanwhile, the family still hasn't received an apology from Paisley for his sickening display at Westminster. Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley demanded an apology, saying: "The Reavey family had suffered at the hands of loyalist murderers, losing three brothers in their prime. Their suffering was made worse by the despicable whispering campaign and security force harassment which they were subject to following the murders. It is unacceptable that they have had to wait 31 years for the record to be set straight. Ian Paisley colluded in this whispering campaign against the family under the protection of parliamentary privilege- he too should do the right thing, and withdraw his remarks and apologise to the family."

If Ian Paisley had any decency he would retract his accusations and apologise. This is a heartbreaking story of suffering endured by the Reavey family- Ian Paisley might be styling himself as soon-to-be First Minister, but his actions in the recent past continue to rub salt in the wounds of this family. The pain that Paisley has caused down the years is still etched heavily in the hearts and minds of the nationalist community- it is time he started to rectify this, and a full apology to the Reaveys would be the perfect place to begin. El Blogador

No comments: