Majella O'Hare - by Fr. Denis Faul and Fr. Raymond Murray (1976)
[Key_Events] Key_Issues] [Conflict_Background]
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The Fourteenth of August 1976 was a day of special remembrance for Nurse Alice Campbell of Crossmaglen, for it was on that day she was to be married to Brian Reavey of Whitecross. Alas Brian and his two brothers John Martin and Anthony were assassinated in January 1976. On the Fourteenth morning Seamus Reavey, Brian’s brother, collected her from her work at Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry, at 9 a.m. They bought a wreath and went to collect the father James Reavey, and little Colleen the eight-year-old daughter. They cut roses from the garden at the old Reavey home at Greyhilla, Whitecross, where Brian was assassinated. They arrived at Ballymoyer Graveyard about 11.00 a.m. Seamus noticed a group of soldiers in the hay-cut field beside the graveyard, and when they were half-way down the path of the cemetery the same soldiers had entered at the bottom left of the cemetery and met them on the path. The Paratrooper in charge told Seam us Reavey that he wanted to see him when he was finished.
They delayed in the graveyard some twenty minutes thinking the soldiers might move off and leave them alone. But when they came out and Seamus unlocked ‘ the car door for the others, the Paratrooper called Seamus in the foulest of language. This was witnessed by Hugh Kennon who had been stopped on the road by the British Army. He remarked on it. The Paratrooper kept Seamus about half an hour at a telegraph pole some thirty yards abovethe graveyard. There he put Seamus through deep agony insulting the memory of his dead brothers. To the stranger this inhumanity is incredible but it is a common attitude of the British Army to the oppressed Catholic community.
While they were talking a group of children went by. Seamus Reavey says they looked happy. They were a group of ten children who were heading for their sodality confession at Ballmoyer Chapel, some 500 yards down the road. Mrs. Murphy of the Orlitt Cottages, from where most of the children had come, had warned the0
bigger ones before they left not to pass any remarks to the British Army. The 4 soldiers at the gate of the cut hayfield about 45 yards below the graveyard gate shouted some taunts to which the children hardly replied. One of these soldiers lay on his stomach manning a machine-gun. This was the gun that killed Majella O’Hare.
At this stage two little girls aged 8 and 7 were some distance in front. They were followed by a boy of 13 and the girl of 16. The rest of the 8 children were stretched across the road, two of these lagging a little behind Majella was second from the left hand side of the road. She had the youngest child (three and a half) by the hand. There was a loud bang and Majella fell.
All the civilian witnesses are agreed that there was one single bang. They describe it as "loud," like an "explosion." Mrs. Teresa Murphy says -"I heard the shot, a bang with a tail on it, not a sharp clear sound, but very loud." This is an accurate description of a firing from a machine-gun which can fire "800" rounds a minute. The slightest touch will discharge 3 shots. And this is what happened. The Paratrooper discharged 3 shots. Two of the bullets penetrated Majella’s back and came out through her stomach. The bullets ploughed up the heap of gravel in front of the trailer which was parked on the road verge.
On the day before, Friday, Majella and some friends had spent the. day at Gyles Quay, a favourite seaside spot, near Dundalk. She intended going back to spend the weekend there with neighbours. So she refused the offer of a day’s shopping with her mother and her ‘brother Michael in Newry. She had waved "goodbye" to them at 10.30 that morning. Before she set out for Confessions she left a note for her mother saying she would be back from Gyles Quay on Sunday night.
James O’Hare, Majella’s father had gone to do some work at St. Malachy’s School which is beside the Chapel at 10.00 am. There were no soldiers then. But some time later 6 soldiers came out of the Rectory Lane opposite the Chapel Gate. They went up the road towards the graveyard. He had seen the Reaveys up the road and was worried for them, when they were stopped by the soldiers as they came out of the graveyard. He was keeping an eye out as he worked on the grass verge in front of St. Malachy’s school. He saw the children coming down the road to Confession. Below the height he was able to make them out and he recognised Majella among them.
Then he heard a bang and saw a child fall. He ran towards them and found his little girl dying. Majella was the darling of her parents’ heart. She had been born some years after the other members of the family, Michael, Anne, Marie and Margarita. She was the love of their home. While comforting the child he was badly abused by some of the Paratroopers.
When the gun was fired there was a lot of confusion on the road. The children were screaming. The soldiers were shouting. One of the Paratroopers ran down the road. Another soldier, a Marine, came out of the bushes near where the child lay. The Reaveys and Alice Campbell took cover with the rest.
When there was no more firing, the Reaveys finally persuaded the soldiers to let Alice Campbell, a nurse, attend Majella. She did all she could for her. Father Peter Hughes had arrived just before 12 for Confessions. When he heard from a soldier that a little girl was shot, he rushed to spiritually attend her. Alice Campbell describes the rough treatment towards Majella in throwing her into the helicopter with her legs dangling out, and indeed she was almost falling out herself when the helicopter lifted.
An ambulance arrived later. Father Peter Hughes followed it to the Casualty Ward, Daisy Hill Hospital Newry. Majella was dead. Michael and his mother met the ambulance and car on their way home from shopping in Newry. They asked the people who were gathering in groups in Whitecross what had happened. They were told Majella was shot. They went to the hospital. Father Hughes broke the sad news.
Newspaper reporters have written up this story and politicians have commented on it. Significance has been attached to the various reports from the British Army Press Headquarters at Lisburn. David Blundy outlines them in a special report in the Sunday Times 22nd August:
"Majella was shot about 11.45 a.m. According to the first report of the incident issued by the Press desk at the army HQ in Lisburn, it seemed that yet another child had been the victim of terrorist violence. The report, issued at 12.14 p.m. said that a gunman had opened fire on an army patrol in Whitecross, near the border in County Armagh, and a 12-year-old girl had been hit. It seemed that the army had not returned fire. This report was carried by Belfast’s local commercial radio station, Downtown, in its news bulletins at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. that day.
But just after 2 p.m., the army’s story began to change significantly. The second report said that a gunman had opened fire on the army patrol, and it was ‘believed’ that the army may have returned fire. By 3.30 p.m., the Army Press desk said it was then certain that the army had returned fire, but had failed to hit the gunman. Majella O’Hare had died in the crossfire.
Last week, one of the senior army public relations officers at Lisburn said he didn’t have the faintest idea, why the army had initially denied opening fire. ‘We were under pressure from the Press to get a statement out,’ he said, ‘perhaps it was over-enthusiasm to get a statement out quickly.’ The confusion is puzzling, however, because the one fact the army patrol could have quickly and easily ascertained was whether or not one of the soldiers fired his gun.
The next day, after the post mortem report on Majella, the Royal Ulster Constabulary issued a statement ‘confirming that the fatal bullets probably came from an army weapon. A report that the army came under fire is still under investigation. The postmortem revealed that Majella had been hit by two bullets, both of them believed to have been fired by one of the army’s general purpose machine-guns.
But there are still serious doubts about the army’s claim that the patrol was fired at by a gunman. Eye-witness reports do not. confirm this claim, and unofficially, police investigating the case refer to the army’s ‘phantom gunman.
In fact, police say that the army fired at least three rounds. Majella was hit by two bullets, and these have been found to be army ones. So far they are the only bullets to have been recovered. One short burst from a general purpose machine gun would not make individual explosions, but because of the speed of fire, might sound like one loud bang.
Neither the army nor the police would comment further on the shooting last week. The army repeated the statement put out at 3.30 p.m. on the afternoon of the shooting that an army patrol came under fire from a gunman and shot back."
From the statements of witnesses some important points can be made in reference to some of the issues Blundy raises. There were many soldiers on the road and under cover that day. When Seamus Reavey stopped his car near Majella after she had been shot, there were about 15 soldiers in the vicinity. They had come from the hilly bushy left hand side of the road and the cut meadow on the right. The meadow was impossible territory for a gunman. A soldier was seen emerge from the hedge on the left. There was no gunman there. Some of the soldiers adopted positions in anticipation of a gunman behind the chapel Wall, the "phantom gunman." James O’Hare was working near there. He saw no one there and heard no shot from there. Witnesses on being questioned say some of the soldiers were afraid but the Paratroopers didn’t seem to be afraid. One thing seems certain - - the paras and a few Marines, as distinct from the general body, had a story prepared for a shooting incident, that they were fired on by an Armalite rifle and they fired back. There was a lot of insistence to get the children, the people of the cottages, and. the Reavey group to say that they heard a number of shots, variously reported 4, 5, 6, 8, 9. The blonde Marine who lay on the ground beside the Reaveys, declared it was an Armalite right away. The first thing the soldier said to Father Hughes when he arrived to attend Majella was -"Isn’t that a terrible thing to see a little girl shot by an Armalite rifle." The dark brown-eyed Para’s attitude was sinister in the extreme. He tried to bully the many shots story all round. The blonde Marine tried to force the exchange of shots theory on Seamus Reavey at 5.15 that day - even saying that he fired back himself - an utter lie, since he lay beside Seamus Reavey and fired no shots.
The Paras who burned down people’s houses in South Armagh and shot two men recently there in cold blood had prepared another "incident" for Ballymoyer. The irony is that things went wrong. They shot poor little Majella O’Hare, whether by accident or intent, and the killing was quickly fitted into their prepared trap and the Armalite weapon, weapon of the Provisional IRA, theory went ahead.
For once the Press desk at army HQ, Lisburn, can not be blamed for the initial story. They accepted the report sent by the Para officer in command on the scene at Ballymoyer. He told them that a gunman had shot Majella. This was very shortly after Majella was shot. Una Murphy says in her statement - "Sometime later the soldiers came up to the gate of the house and were speaking across the radio. They said there was a couple of shots believed to be from an Armalite rifle." No doubt he thought this would deal a great blow against the Provisional IRA following the media coverage of the tragic deaths of the Maguire children. And this worked. This report was scooped by politicians and the Belfast Telegraph. The Para commander was sure he could bully some evidence from local residents and confuse them. What upset his cover-up? The RUC arrived on the scene. They demanded that the machine-gun be handed over for forensic inspection. The Para refused because his story would be blown. The RUC insisted and it was handed over. Army HQ press desk at Lisburn began to change its story significantly.
At 2 p.m. they now said it was believed that the army may have returned fire. By 3.30 p.m. some thinking had been done. They would certainly admit the army returned fire. They knew the RUC report would say their gun killed Majella. But they still covered up - they failed to hit the gunman. Majella died in crossfire They have failed to retract this lie.
"At that time some children passed by..."
STATEMENT OF SEAMUS REAVEY, (31),
On Saturday morning the 14th August I had an occasion to go to Ballymoyer to visit the graveyard with my father James, sister, Colleen (8), and a friend Miss Alice Campbell (22). At around 11 o’clock we arrived at the graveyard. I noticed some soldiers in a field on the Whitecross side of the graveyard. As I got Out of the car I noticed soldiers come into the graveyard at the bottom.
I locked the car and proceeded down to my brothers’ grave. In my hand I had a bucket of water and a knife. My father and Alice carried flowers. Halfway down the cemetery we met about 6 soldiers, Marines (Greencaps). There was one Para. He said - "Seamus Reavey." I said -"Yes." He said - "I want a word with you when you are finished."
I went on to the grave and tidied it up and the others placed some flowers. Alice placed a wreath. I stayed as long as I could, thinking the soldiers might move off, but they stayed about my car.
After 15-20 minutes we came back to the car. As I closed the gate the Para called me. I went to open the car to let the others in, when I heard a loud shout - "Seamus Reavey, come up here or I’ll knock the f....ing block off you." I went up the road, about twenty yards to where he was standing. I said - "I wasn’t going away, you have no call to be shouting." At that stage a car was stopped and the occupant, Hugh Kennon, remarked, to the soldiers -"That’s nice language in front of the graveyard." The Para told him to f... off.
The Para then called a member of the Marines over. He said to him -"This is a Provo." I said - "You are wrong." The Para then said - "Meet Officer .... (I can’t remember his name) who will be looking after you for the next four months." He said - "What are you doing up here so early this morning?" I said - "We were placing flowers on my brothers’ grave." He said - "What’s so special about this morning?" I said - "One of my dead brothers was to have been married this morning to that girl in the car." He then started to laugh and said - "That’s some f.. . .ing excuse. What are you doing up here?"
I said - "I’m after telling you what I’m doing here." He then said - "Who killed your brothers?" I said I didn’t know but that I’d like to know. He said he knew. I said -"Who was it?" He said it was the Provos, that my brothers were tried by a kangaroo court up past Felix Loughran’s public house for not taking part in the minibus massacre. I said -"That’s stupid. My brothers were not in any illegal organisation."
At that time some children passed by on the left side of the road. They seemed happy and made no comment as they passed. A short time later the Para said - "Do you see them children going down? Only we are here the Provos would have them shot, their mothers as well." He then started about the women of peace in Belfast and if they were up here they would run the Provos out of South Armagh.
Just then a single shot rang out and I threw myself on the ground, facing next Whitecross. I looked down the road and saw my father come towards the front of the car. I shouted to get down and he did so. I crawled down to the car and let Colleen and Alice out and we lay behind the wall. At this stage the Marine was also behind the wall. There was a lot of shouting from the soldiers. The Marine said - "That’s an Armalite. There was at least 4 shots come from it." I said - "No. There was only one shot." There was a lot of screaming coming from down the road from the children. A Para came up the road and said - "That’s your f.. .ing Provos for you. There’s a little girl hit down the road." He said there was at least 9 shots fired. Again I said -"No. There was only one shot." He said - "You f. . .ing Irish only hear what suits you." Another Marine came over and I said to him - "Let me go down the road as I know all the children." He said - "No." I then said - "Let this girl go down as she is a nurse." He said - "No." I kept at him to let her go, and after some time he caught her by the hand and ran her down the road. The children then started to come up the road. I asked one of them who was shot. They said -"Majella O’Hare got shot." I told them to run on up the road as some women had gathered further up on the road. A Para came up the road and said - "F... off." We got into the car, turned round and came down the road towards the Chapel. Halfway down the road I noticed Alice bending over a child, also some soldiers. I pulled in behind a long trailer parked on the side of the grass and ran back up the road towards Alice. I then saw James O’Hare, the little girl’s father. He was bare chested and looked in bad shape. Alice had the girl bandaged. Then the helicopter came overhead and landed on the road.
There was a lot of soldiers on the road, maybe 15. James O’Hare was put into the helicopter first, and then the little girl. Alice went with her. Majella’s legs were hanging out as the helicopter lifted off the road. A Para then said - "Your f...ing wife is much more helpful than I can f. . .ing say for you." He told me to f... off.
Later on that day I took my father and mother up to O’Hares. On my way back at 5.15 three members of the Marines stopped me at the School. One of them was the blonde officer who was lying behind the wall with us after the shot was fired. I was asked to step out and I did. He said - "What did you hear this morning?" I said I heard one shot. He said - "You must have heard more, as I returned fire myself." I said - "You couldn’t have, as you were lying beside us at the graveyard." He said - "I can’t understand you Irish. It seems you only want to hear what suits you." Again he talked about my brothers and who had shot them.
I’d say we were in the graveyard about 15-20 minutes. I was standing with the soldiers near to half an hour when the shot went off.
Signed: Seamus Reavey 14/8/76
STATEMENT OF JAMES REAVEY, WHITECROSS
When we came out of the grave yard, Seamus went to open the car door which was locked, to let Alice and wee Colleen into the car. I didn’t get into the car at that time but Alice and Colleen did. I saw the Para officer talking to Seamus ten or fifteen yards up the road at a pole. There was a Marine came down to me just at that time. He asked me was I Mr. Reavey. I said I was. He asked me was I the father of the boys who were shot. I said I was. I told him I was disgusted at the language the Para had come out with to young Seamus in front of the graveyard. We started to talk then in general terms. He told me when he came over to Northern Ireland and when he was going back around Christmas.
He was friendly. Just at that time I looked at my watch. It was about ten minutes to twelve at that time. Roughly then about three minutes after that when I heard the shot. The soldier who was talking to me the words he used were - "My God will it never end." Seamus shouted down at met to get down - I was still standing. He then came down to us. We got Alice and Colleen out of the car. We lay down at the side of the wee wall. There was a Marine there beside us - - not the boy I was talking to. I asked him at that moment did he know what sort of a gun that was. He said it was an Armalite. He said there were at least 6 shots fired. I said - "No, I only heard the one." I told him there was a trained nurse with us and to get her down when the news came through that there was a girl shot. The soldiers said "No," that they had their own Medic there. After a lot of pleading with them he eventually took her down. The Para officer seemed to be under the impression that the shot came from the left hand side. A soldier came along then and told us to f... off down the road. When we came down we pulled into the side just where the trailer was on the road.
Seamus got out of the car and ran up to where the wee girl was lying. We stayed in the car. It was just then that the helicopter landed in the middle of the road. We saw them taking the father down the road to the helicopter. Then we saw Alice and the soldiers carrying wee Majella down.
Signed: James Reavey 26/8/76
STATEMENT OF NURSE ALICE CAMPBELL,
I was engaged to Brian Reavey who, was assassinated on the 4th January 1976. I am an S.E.N. Nurse and work in Daisy Hill Hospital. We had fixed our wedding day for Saturday 14 August 1976.
On that day Seamus Reavey collected me from work at Daisy Hill about 9 a.m. We bought a wreath and we came to Whitecross to collect the father Jimmy Reavey and 7 year old Colleen Reavey. While Colleen was getting ready we went to the Reavey home where Brian was assassinated and cut some roses from the garden there. Then we came to Ballymoyer graveyard and arrived at about 11 a.m. We took the flowers out of the back of the car and as we were going down the path of the graveyard towards the grave we noticed a number of soldiers. They came Out of the hole at the left hand side of the graveyard. We went on to the grave. The soldiers said, "Good Morning, Seamus, we’ll see you when you are finished." They passed us and went up to stand at the roadside. We spent 15 to 20 minutes at the graveside. We went back up as far as the car. We saw some children on the road going to the right. Colleen waved her hand at them.
As Seamus was putting his keys into the door of the car a Paratrooper roared at him. "Come up here Seamus Reavey, or I’ll knock the f.. . .ing head off you." Seamus said - "No need to shout, I’m not going away." I put Colleen into the back and I got into the passenger seat. Seamus went over to the Paratrooper who was standing at a pole at the right hand side of the road in the direction of the Chapel. I was crying in the front of the car after coming up from the grave. The car was pointing away from the Chapel. Mr. Reavey was standing at the passenger door.
I heard a loud bang from behind me. I thought it was an explosion. Then I thought they had shot Seamus. I heard Seamus roar "duck." I pushed Colleen down in the back and I lay down in the front of it. Seamus then crawled down and opened the door of the car and told me to crawl out and lie alongside the wall beside Mr. Reavey and the soldier. This soldier shouted "That’s an Armalite." Jimmy Reavey said -"But there’s children away down that road. Let me go down." The soldier roared - "No, lie where you are." He pleaded with him once more. But he still insisted on him lying where he was.
One of the soldiers from the lower part of the road came up and said - "There’s a child been hurt." I then said to Mr. Reavey - "Maybe I could do something for her." Mr. Reavey asked the soldier to let me go down but he would not. Mr. Reavey said I was a nurse. After 5 minutes the soldier took me down by the hand to where the child was lying, a little bit out from the left hand side. The soldier who came with me shouted for bandages and he was helping me with her. The child was lying on the road. Someone had taken the father to the side. The child was lying on her back. A wound was visible on her abdomen (exit wound). I tried to deal with this. She was semiconscious and groaning. I was tilting her chin with my hand to give her more air and she pushed my hand aside and muttered - "Don’t do that." The soldier who was assisting me kept saying -"This is your f. . . .ing Provos for you.
Father Hughes arrived and came out of his car. The soldier that was assisting me said "There he is again. He is always stuck in it." Fr. Hughes said prayers over her. A local man, Barry Malone, was driving past. The same soldier, who was hysterical, gave an unmerciful yell and said - "There’s what your f. .. .ing Provos do, there it is for you - look." Then he thumped the top of the car and said "Drive on to f. . . .ing hell."
About 10 minutes later the helicopter arrived. The father was put in first. The girl was put in head first with her legs dangling out - the wrong thing to do as it cut off her air supply. She was thrown in on her wounded side. I then got in with a lot of effort. There was very little space for me. They lifted off with the child’s legs dangling out. I was kneeling with my red trousered legs out of the helicopter, holding on to a strap.
With the help of the father I tried to get her head up. I thumped the soldier on the back and told him to bring the child’s legs in and he did so. He said - "It’ll only take 5 minutes. We have a doctor standing by." I started to give her the kiss of life in the helicopter and I told the father to start saying the Act of Contrition.
When we landed I saw a surgeon and called him. I carried Majella into the Casualty department and there were three doctors present. One put a stethescope to her heart and got a heart beat. They gave her oxygen. Another doctor applied his stethescope and said -"She’s gone off."
I went to the main entrance and I met Mrs. O’Hare, Majella’s mother, and she kept saying "Tell me please, honest, is she dead, is she dead?" I couldn’t tell her. Fr. Hughes came on the scene and he told her.
Signed: Alice Campbell 26/8/76
STATEMENT OF JAMES O’HARE, (56).
On Saturday 14 August 1976 I got up early and I gave Majella cornflakes in bed. She had been at the sea at Gyles’ Quay, County Louth on the day before and had brought me home mint sweets and a stone from the beach. She said: "You want to see it, Daddy, when it is wet, it turns brown." She had said the night before that she was going to the sea again with Mrs. McGivern and did I want more sweets.
When she got up her brother Michael told her to get her mother to rise quickly and come to Newry. Majella did the redding up about the house. She left a note to tell her Mammy that she would be back from Gyles Quay on Sunday night.
My wife is caretaker of St. Malachy’s Primary School, Ballymoyer, which is 500 yards from our house. I do the heavy work. Fr. Hughes had called in the night before and told me about books left in the porch of the Chapel. He wanted them brought to the School before Sunday. When I went down, my brown labrador, Prince, went around the school and around the Chapel for security reasons. I went down to the Chapel at 10 am. and saw no soldiers then. I brought in the books and went out to the grass then The dog was lying beside me on the path. The next I saw six soldiers coming out of the rectory lane opposite the Chapel gate. A container lorry came from the Whitecross direction which they stopped and searched. I expected them to come in to me next. They continued up the road towards the graveyard. I knew the Reaveys were in the graveyard for I saw them up the road. The next thing I saw was the two Reaveys out of the graveyard - white shirts on them - separated about 50 yards apart. I could easily recognise them with their white shirts. I was still watching them, worrying were they going to be abused - this went on for half an hour to three quarters of an hour. I was worried about them. I was working with the grass - keeping my eye on them.
The next I saw was the girls coming down to Confession - about 6 I thought. When they came below the height of the road, I recognised Majella among them. They continued on towards me about 25 to 30 yards past the soldiers, visible to my eye.
There was a bang. I saw a child fall to the road. Immediately I ran towards the children - about 150 yards. When I got to the point it was my own little girl. She was lying on her left hand side with her head against the brow of the hill. On my way up I noticed the child try to get up on two occasions - on the second time she went down with a bang.
I went down on my hunkers and held her up in my arms and the blood pouring from her left hand side. The other children were hysterical. The soldier came near. For four or five minutes I got no help. While I was on the road, a neighbour lad, Gerard Toner of Whitecross, came in a car and I asked him to get priest doctor and ambulance.
Shortly after a Paratrooper approached and said - "What the f. . . .ing hell are you doing here?" I said I was the girl’s father. And the next word he said was - "Close your f. . .ing mouth" I was hysterical. Eventually they let Nurse Campbell down. While she was coming down, Father Hughes came to the Church for Confessions. I shouted at him. He came up and attended Majella. By that time one of the soldiers with a green cap carried me about 10 yards further down the road and laid me on the grass. He took out his water bottle and gave me a few sips. He also lit a cigarette and told me to have a few pulls. Around that time the helicopter came in. The soldiers carried me down and put me in the helicopter and they put Majella in beside me. Next was Nurse Campbell.
We went to Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry, Majella had her hand in her long hair on her left side and I could see her moving her hand which I thought she was trying to ease herself - she was hurting. Eventually she took it up my chest near my right shoulder and she says - "Daddy, Daddy," in a very faint voice. On the next second she just fell between me and Nurse Campbell and to me she just died.
Nurse Campbell and myself said the Confiteor and the Act of Contrition. I said to Nurse Campbell - "She’s dead." Nurse Campbell said - "No," and gave her the kiss of life about one minute before we landed at the hospital. There was no trolley. Someone carried Majella in. I went in after her. They took me into a room. My wife came in with Father Hughes. She asked was Majella dead. Father Hughes nodded that she was - My wife began to cry. I was already in tears.
Signed: James O'Hare 26/8/76
STATEMENT OF JOHN KENNON, (60),
I was up in the fields about 700 yards west of Ballymoyer Cross Roads. I heard the shot, a very loud bang. I afterwards heard shouting on the road in the direction of Ballymoyer Chapel. That was round about 12 noon, 14 August 1976. I saw or heard nothing else.
Signed: John Kennon 26/8/76
STATEMENT OF FATHER PETER HUGHES.
I was coming down to hear Confessions. I arrived down at the Chapel a few minutes before 12, Confessions were at 12. There were soldiers all round the road. One of them was standing at the Church gate. He put up his hand and shouted at me - "Go on up the road immediately, there is a little girl shot."
I drove on up the road to where she was shot. There was a soldier and Alice Campbell with the little girl when I got out of the car to her. The first thing the soldier said to me was -‘‘Isn’t this a terrible thing, to see a little girl shot by an Armalite rifle." As the child seemed to be unconscious I gave her absolution. I went back to the house, intending to come back again, but they had taken her into the hospital. I went to the hospital. Father Devlin, the chaplain, was with her. But she had just died.
I took the father and mother back home to the house in the car.
I stayed there for some time with the father and mother. I went back then to my own house to attend to some business. I came back down again to see what arrangements they wanted to bring the remains home and the time of the post mortem.
When I got down to the Church I was told the road was closed, that there was a suspect bomb on the road - there was no word of a suspect bomb until this. When they told me this I had to go a roundabout way to get to the O’Hare house. I was there about an hour and a half getting arrangements made - about bringing home the remains that evening and getting in touch with the undertaker.
On my way back down the road again I met two detectives coming up. I asked them if the road was closed, that I had been told there was a suspect bomb. They told me there was nothing at all there and the road would be open in a few minutes.
Signed: P.J. Hughes 26/8/76
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