British MP praises courage of bereaved mothers

May 27, 2013

A visit by a prominent British politician to the Reavey family home in Whitecross on Thursday has prompted the family to renew its call for the present government to publicly acknowledge the known identity of those who murdered their three brothers.

Labour MP Vernon Coaker, the shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland, visited the home of Sadie Reavey – mother of John (24), Brian (22) and Anthony (17) who were murdered  by loyalists in their home in January 1976.

Mr Coaker also paid a visit to Mary O’Hare, mother of 12-year-old Majella, who was shot dead by the British army as she made her way to church in 1976.

He also recently met with relatives of the ten Protestant workers who were murdered at Kingsmills.

Praising the courage and dignity shown by both women in the face of their huge loss, Mr Coaker pledged to try and help find a resolution for them and the many others who have also suffered.

“One of the things I’ve tried to do as Shadow Secretary of State is meet victims and survivors and hear their stories.  Mrs O’Hare and Mrs Reavey are two mothers who have suffered greatly. Like the Kingsmills families, they have borne their grief with great dignity and compassion,” he said.

“I’ve said consistently that we need a comprehensive process to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.  These are difficult and sensitive issues but we must all work together to address Northern Ireland’s past in order to move forward.”

Speaking to The Examiner after the visit, Eugene Reavey expressed his appreciation that Mr Coaker had taken time out of his busy schedule to meet his mother and Mrs O’Hare.  He said the family now hopes that this visit might help highlight their campaign for justice.

“My mother will be 90 this year and all this time has passed and we still have not had any investigation or prosecution,” Mr Reavey said.

“The HET (Historical Enquiries Team) has furnished us with a completed report into the murder of the Reavey brothers however the PSNI does not seem to be able to bring forward any prosecutions.   The case has now been sent to the Police Ombudsman’s office which is currently carrying out a full investigation,” he revealed.

Mr Reavey says the government should put on public record its knowledge of the murders and “name and shame” those responsible.

“We know who carried out all these murders but there is no will on the part of the PSNI to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

“Mr Coaker has shown great interest in the victims of the Troubles here in south Armagh and has promised to seek resolution for those affected. It is now time they [the Government] admitted publicly that they know who is responsible.”