(by Anthony Neeson, Irelandclick.com)
June 28, 2002
There was a pattern to the murder of Damien Walsh.
The 17-year-old was gunned down by the UFF on March 25, 1993 at the Coal Bunker in the Dairy Farm complex where he had been working for a year. A popular employee, he never missed a dayís work, and was told by his employers that when he turned 18 he would manage one of the companyís other outlets.
By an awful coincidence he was only at work that evening because he had swapped shifts with a colleague, as he had promised to take his girlfriend to the pictures the following night.
At 7.30 that Thursday evening the chain of events that led to Damienís murder began.
The UFF gang that would eventually gun down Damien hijacked a car in the Lower Shankill. The pensioner whose car was taken at gunpoint immediately phoned the RUC to report the hijacking. The RUC only acted on this information 30 minutes later. By then an RUC checkpoint on the Stewartstown Road, which had been in position for most of the day, had disappeared.
Fifteen minutes after the checkpoint moved off the UFF gang drove to the rear of the Dairy Farm, where Damien was working, and shot him dead. This was 35 minutes after the car was initially hijacked on the Shankill.
"When the RUC arrived on the scene they had no interest in Damien," says his still grieving mother, Marian. "A first-aider on the scene asked an RUC man for his field pack so he could apply some dressing to Damienís wounds, but he refused. It was only when a British soldier came on the scene that dressing was applied to Damien, but by then it was too late."
In a follow-up search the RUC discovered bomb making material in a unit next to the Coal Bunker.
"At no point did they try to pursue the killers or help Damien. All their interests centred around the Dairy Farm which they searched from top to bottom and lo and behold they just happened upon this bomb making material."
After the murder of Damien it was revealed that the RUC had an informer who had notified them about the unit with the bomb making material. The RUC also had surveillance cameras fixed on the front and rear of the Dairy Farm.
"There is a real pattern to all of these collusion cases," said Marian. "In Damienís case the RUC were well aware that explosives were being kept in the unit. They obviously passed on this information to the UFF with the intention of killing someone and teaching them a lesson.
"Damien was a completely random killing, an innocent child, set up by the RUC."
Marian hopes that the truth surrounding Damienís murder and the murder of hundreds of other Catholics will finally be exposed with the publication of Stevens Three. Like many others, she believes the trail will lead the whole way to the top.
"The British government were involved in all this collusion and it went all the way to the Prime Minister. Iím convinced about that.
"We always knew that the British government werenít honest brokers, but they pretended to the outside world that they were keeping two warring factions apart.
"It could not have been further from the truth. They were arming one side all along and their forces were targeting people to be shot, and passing that information on to loyalists, to do their dirty work for them.
"When Damien was shot he was demonised straight away because the explosives were found nearby.
"I want answers now. Hopefully Stevens will bring it all to a head and the truth will come out. Our loved ones deserve justice, but after all this time waiting for the truth, Iím sceptical that we will get to the bottom of this whole dirty mess.Ē
This article appeared first on the Irelandclick.com web site on June 24, 2002.