Catholics need closure on historic sectarian killings – priest

Posted By: June 29, 2018

Jun 29 at 8:33 AM
Colm Fitzpatrick. Irish Catholic. Dublin.Thursday,  June 28, 2018

The British government needs to be held more accountable for the killing of Catholic nationalists during the Troubles if there is going to be “any kind of closure,” a prominent Northern Irish priest has said.

Fermanagh priest and well-known civil rights advocate, Fr Joe McVeigh, said that there have been “many killings by the security forces throughout the whole of the Troubles and all of these need to be reopened,” adding that there should at least be an inquest into each of them.


The comments come after news that a British soldier is to be prosecuted for the February 1988 killing of Co. Tyrone man Aidan McAnespie, who was shot dead as he walked through a British army checkpoint on his way to a Gaelic football match.

“I knew the family very well at that time; they were very, very upset. Obviously about his killing but also about the lies that were told, excuses that were made and all the rest of it, because Aidan had been harassed constantly before that before he was shot dead,” Fr McVeigh said.

The priest, who lives in the mainly Protestant village of Lisbellaw, also said that the targeting of Catholic nationalists was very “deliberate” and focused on “intimidation” and keeping Catholics in their “place.”

“It was a whole policy; it wasn’t just an incidental one here and there, it was a deliberate policy, we had it in Fermanagh. We had it in Tyrone and Derry and all throughout the six counties at various times, and it was very deliberate.”


He added that the British government isn’t highly motivated, and prosecutions resulting from historical cases such as Mr. Anespie’s were probably the consequence of pressure from human rights groups, rather than “high motives.”

“But it is, it is important that it’s done and there’s seen to be justice done. It’s very important, but I don’t credit the British government with any kind of high.