(Seán Mag Uidhir, Irelandclick.com)
October 24, 2002
An international team of barristers will head up next month’s community inquiry into the controversial circumstances of the shooting dead by the British Army of six New Lodge men 30 years ago.
Professor Colin Harvey, head of the Human Rights Centre at the Leeds University School of Law; Ed Lynch, an American lawyer with the Lawyers Alliance; and Gareth Peirce, the English human rights solicitor celebrated for her work with Irish prisoners in England.
The author and human rights activist Don Mullan, who is known for his work in relation to Bloody Sunday, will chair this panel.
They will hear eyewitness accounts that have been collected in the last six months of the night and early morning of 3-4 February 1973 when the six men were shot dead.
Two of these men – Jim Sloan and Jim McCann – were killed in a drive-by shooting at the top of the New Lodge Road around 11:00 pm. Within minutes of the drive-by shooting, the British military opened fire on the junctions of New Lodge Road and Edlingham Street from the direction of Duncairn Gardens and from the military observation posts from the top of the flats in the New Lodge Road. Tony (TC) Campbell (19), Brendan (Fat) Maguire (32), John Loughran (35) and Ambrose Hardy (26) were killed in these attacks.
At the time, the British army stated that six gunmen had been killed in a gun battle with their troops in the New Lodge area of North Belfast.
Witness statements from the local community and the families of the six men directly contradict the official account of events.
Eyewitnesses maintain that all of these men were unarmed and were attacked without provocation.
All sides agree, however, that the events of that fateful day were never properly investigated.
As a result, there has never been a full accounting of this tragedy.
But now, with the 30th anniversary approaching, the families of the six men with the support of the New Lodge 6 Massacre – Time for Truth Committee, are to hold a Community Inquiry, open to the public, to establish the full facts and seek justice.
Ultimately, the purpose of the inquiry is to push for the truth as to why six men were killed without warning or provocation.
Any remaining witnesses are urged to come forward.
This article appeared first on the Irelandclick.com web site on October 21, 2002.