The families of two teenagers killed in the 1972 Belturbet bombing have waited nearly 50 years for their chance at justice.
addy Stanley, 16, and Geraldine O’Reilly, 15, died in the explosion in the town of Co Cavan on December 28, 1972 – their families have been fighting to bring their killers to justice ever since.
A new glimmer of hope came yesterday with news that Gardaí have launched a new investigation into the bombing – which was not alleged by any terrorist group but is believed to have been carried out by loyalist paramilitaries.
Eight other people were also injured in the attack. Gardaí are pursuing several lines of investigation in the newly opened case.
Paddy Stanley’s sister, Susan, said his death had a profound impact on her family over many decades, but her hopes were boosted by the new possibility of prosecution.
“We are very excited. Strange thing to get excited about, I know, but we’re really excited. We’ve come this far and now we have something tangible. Maybe someday we’ll find out who killed Paddy and Geraldine,” she said.
“My dad Joe, God bless him, never let up. Write letters, make phone calls and attend meetings. The last thing he said to us just before he died in 2013 was, “Don’t forget Paddy.” It’s something that really stuck with us.”
She said the impact of the bombing on her parents was obvious – but they bore the burden with grace and their home was always filled with love.
“Mammy never went to his funeral. She used to have nightmares about him being under a tree and stuff like that. When Dad came home after identifying Paddy, he told her Paddy had a mark on his forehead. What my poor father lived with – Paddy was burned crisp.
“To have to live with it and raise 10 children after I was born, after tragically losing a child – that’s a credit to any parent. But losing a child so tragically and for no good reason must have been very difficult to deal with over the years,” she added.
The new investigation was launched by Gardaí following the findings of a review.
A team of six Gardaí from Ballyconnell Garda Station will now investigate the bombing.
Susan said that the tireless work of two Gardaí was behind the new investigation and that other attacks might have been prevented if the Belturbet bombing had been investigated more thoroughly initially.
“The first time a Garda came to our home about the bombing was 39 years after Paddy’s death – 39 years. It’s not called ‘Forgotten Bomb’ for nothing,” she added.
“I don’t think justice is the right word as I don’t think anyone will ever be prosecuted – but all my father ever wanted to know was who killed his son? If we can pull this off as a family then we would be over the moon to have accomplished what my dad set out to do all those years ago.”
Margaret Urwin, of the group Justice for the Forgotten, said news of the inquiry would bring hope to the many dozens of victims’ families who wanted the killers of their loved ones to be brought to justice.
“This is a really positive and significant step. We represent many families implicated in the cross-border bombings of the 1970’s and this is the first time a new investigation has been launched. There is an ongoing review of over 120 murders, so hopefully that review will lead to investigations just like this one.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/families-of-victims-of-forgotten-belturbet-bombing-see-chance-for-justice-50-years-on-42080659.html Families of victims of the ‘forgotten’ Belturbet bombing see a chance for justice 50 years later