Reavey family’s quest for justice continues

January 11, 2011

by Brónagh Murphy

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) recently completed its investigations of the brutal killings of the three Reavey brothers who were murdered in their Whitecross home on Sunday 4th January 1976, but for those left behind, the quest for justice continues.

The HET’s probe into the activities of the ‘Glenanne Gang’ which has been linked to dozens of sectarian murders, is ongoing and will give them the best hope of discovering the identity of their brothers’ killers, Eugene Reavey told The Examiner.

Although due for publication last August, it is expected to be at least several more months before the findings of this investigation are made known.

“There was no real investigation of the murders of my brothers, and we, as a family, were left to try to come to terms with the murders without any help whatsoever from those in authority. That was the case until Commander Dave Cox of the Historical Enquiries Team investigated the murders,” Mr Reavey said.

During a special debate in the Assembly last June which members of the Reavey family attended, Mr Dominic Bradley MLA told the Assembly that the Reavey family had been victims of collusion, “not once, but twice: first, when three members of the family were murdered by the UVF, acting in collusion with elements of the security forces; and, secondly, nearly a quarter of a century later, when the name of one of the surviving brothers, Eugene, was blackened under the shield of parliamentary privilege. None of those accusations were true. Former RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan said that no police file contained any such allegation. Immediately upon hearing that report, the sole survivor of the Kingsmill massacre, Alan Black, phoned Eugene Reavey’s home and told him that he knew that what Dr Paisley had said could not be true.”

In the same debate Mr Danny Kennedy MLA told the Assembly there was “no doubt in his mind” that John Martin, Brian and Anthony Reavey “were murdered in a very cruel and callous manner and were entirely innocent victims.”

In the course of the debate, Mr Alban McGuinness MLA said the event allowed “the Reavey family and the community at large to recognise that people care for them, for their reputation and for the fact that the family has suffered grievously, not just through physical injury and death but also through damage to their reputation.”

Mr Cathal Boylan MLA told the Assembly “I also want to put on record that the three members of the Reavey family were completely innocent. They were ordinary people who became victims of collusion that was carried out by members of the RUC, UDR, UVF and British intelligence. Part of that group became known as the notorious Glenanne gang.”

Mr Trevor Clarke MLA added “the people concerned should get the apology that they are due. I have no problem with that.”


The failure of former DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley to withdraw his accusation that Eugene Reavey masterminded the Kingsmill Massacre in which ten men were killed the day after the Reavey murders has continued to affect the family.  Despite the HET findings proving that Eugene  and his brothers were completely innocent and had no paramilitary connections, Mr Paisley has ignored repeated requests to withdraw the accusation.

Dominic Bradley says it is long past time that Dr Paisley honours the request

“The Reavey family want no recompense other than to see the record set straight and their brother’s name cleared. It is within Dr Paisley’s gift to respond positively to the request from an 88-year-old mother and grandmother and her surviving sons and daughters,” he said.

Unfortunately Dr Paisley has not taken that opportunity but recently the Justice Minister Mr David Ford, as he had previously promised, paid a private visit to the Reavey home where he was warmly welcomed by Mrs Sadie Reavey and members of her family.  Mr Ford reiterated what had been said in the Assembly debate in June and went on to state that John Martin, Brian and Anthony were completely innocent victims as was their brother Eugene of the unfounded allegations made by Dr Paisley.

Eugene Reavey, speaking on the family’s behalf, wishes to place on record their deep appreciation to the Justice Minister for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit the family.

At the 35th Anniversary Mass in St Brigid’s Church, Carrickananney on Saturday night, a large congregation of friends and neighbours joined with the family to remember John Martin, Brian and Anthony.