30 May 2006

Monument to victims of loyalists

Daily Ireland

Ciarán Barnes

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usA crowd of almost 200 people gathered in a small north Armagh church at the weekend for the unveiling of a monument commemorating the lives of five men murdered by loyalists.
Between 1975 and 1993, Gerard Cairns, Rory Cairns, Rose McConville, John Toland and Joseph Toman were murdered by the Portadown/Lurgan Ulster Volunteer Force.
The gang that killed them contained a number of British army and RUC informers, including the late Mark Fulton, RJ Kerr, Robin Jackson and Billy Wright.
All of the murder victims were from the small townland of Bleary.
Their deaths caused terror among the area’s nationalist population, which was routinely targeted by the UVF gang.
The Cairn brothers were killed in 1993, the last to be murdered.
Thirteen years after that, a monument has been erected in the victims’ honour.
Speaking at the unveiling in the grounds of St Colman’s church on Saturday was Sinn Féin assembly member John O’Dowd and the campaigning priest Des Wilson.
Mr O’Dowd said the Bleary monument would act as a reminder of a tragic time in the history of the small rural community.
“It is a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives as a result of a collusion policy developed far away in London,” he said.
Eamon Cairns, the father of Gerard and Rory Cairns, said the monument was proof that security force agents had failed to break the spirit of the people of Bleary.

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