The memorial marks the 30th anniversary of the Ormeau Road murders
A memorial service has been held to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of five Catholics by loyalist paramilitaries in south Belfast.
The findings of an investigation into allegations of collusion between the police and the killers will be released next week.
At around 2.20pm on this date in 1992, two loyalist gunmen entered Sean Graham’s betting shop in south Belfast and shot dead all 12 customers.
One opened fire with an automatic rifle before the other used a handgun to shoot the victims as they lay on the ground.
In less than a minute, five people were killed: Jack Duffin (66); Willie McManus (54); Christy Doherty (52); Peter Magee (18); and James Kennedy (15).
All those shot that day – including five of the injured who died in the years that followed – were commemorated at a service at a permanent memorial alongside bookmakers this afternoon.
Flowers were laid, candles lit, music played and doves released. A priest led a dozen of the rosary for those killed and injured and prayed for their families “to obtain justice”.
The findings of an investigation by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland into allegations of collusion between the police and those responsible for the attack, and the murders of 6 other Catholics in the south Belfast area, will be published Tuesday.
Families of those shot say they expect him to confirm what they have suspected and claimed for many years: that the RUC Special Branch and British Army Intelligence armed the killers and then ensured that they were never prosecuted.
Bosco Kennedy was 17 when the life of his 15-year-old brother James ended that day.
“On my way home, I just remember everyone standing in their doorway looking at me because they already knew my brother had been shot, and I didn’t know that,” he said. declared.
“Two years later my mother died of a broken heart, she could never recover from the death of her second son.”
He expects the Ombudsman’s report to confirm that law and order forces were involved.
“We don’t want people who came into this bookie with guns,” he says.
“We want to know who put the guns in the hands of these people, and who protected them for the other thirty years, and allowed them to act with impunity and never face prosecution.”
Mark Thompson, of campaign group Relatives For Justice, told the crowd the evidence of collusion was clear and cited eyewitnesses at the time who reported overt and covert British military activity in the area before and during the attack.
“These killings were preventable,” he said.
“The people who executed them committed countless murders and we know they were protected by Special Branch, British Military Intelligence and MI5.”
Families of the victims say the UK government’s plans to end prosecution for the Troubles murders are an attempt to cover up the involvement of state forces in the deaths of their loved ones and many others.