30/10/2018

Greysteel Massacre Remembered 25 Years On

The enduring pain and trauma of the Greysteel murders remains 25 years later, as Northern Ireland remembers the night of October 30, 1993 when eight people were killed by a loyalist paramilitary group.

Ulster Defence Association (UDA) gunmen entered the Rising Sun bar in the County L'Derry village and shot seven people dead, with another victim passing away later from his injuries.

It is understood that one of the gunmen shouted "trick or treat" before opening fire.

The loyalist group later claimed responsibility for the attack, which four men, Jeffrey Deeney, Stephen Irwin, Torrens Knight and Brian McNeill, received life sentences for.

A service of remembrance is taking place today, Tuesday 30 October 2018, to mark the 25th anniversary.

A paramedic who was first on the scene recalled the fateful night in a recent interview, the memories of which have haunted him for years.

"It was a busy night because of all the Halloween celebrations," Adrian McCauley said.

"We pulled up to the side of the bar. The crowd surrounded the ambulance, the doors were swung open and we were almost pulled out of the vehicle and pushed inside the bar. It happened within seconds.
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"And we were just confronted by what we saw, which was bodies on the floor, bodies slumped on tables, bodies slumped on chairs having clearly been shot."

The father-of-four said the thing he remembers most is the smell of gun smoke.

"It was a pungent smell, you could almost taste it. I could feel it burning into my eyes. Every time I think about Greysteel I think about that smell."

Mr McAuley also said the event tested all of his training and experience. He added: "All these things were going through my head but I had to do my job, we had to keep going."

The L'Derry man has since retired from the health service, and received an MBE earlier this year for his services to First Aid in Northern Ireland.

Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long said her thoughts and prayers are with the victim's families on this anniversary.

"The horror of Greysteel and that week of attacks, starting with the Shankhill bomb, was overwhelming," she said.

"The dignity of the bereaved, the crowds who rallied demanding an end to violence were only glimmers of light in the darkness."

Deputy Leader of the SDLP, Nichola Mallon also remembered the massacre. She said: "I can't begin to imagine the grief and pain of families of those brutally murdered at Greysteel 25 years ago.

"There is a responsibility on all of us to never go back, to keep moving forward and bring each other with us."



(JG/CM)

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