Tag Archives: Nevin McConnell

Tullyvallen Massacre – The Forgotten Massacre

Tullyvallen Massacre – The Forgotten Massacre

1 September 1975

The Tullyvallen massacre took place on 1 September 1975, when Irish republican gunmen attacked an Orange Order meeting hall at Tullyvallen, near Newtownhamilton in County ArmaghNorthern Ireland. The Orange Order is an Ulster Protestant and unionist brotherhood. Five Orangemen were killed and seven wounded in the shooting.

The “South Armagh Republican Action Force” claimed responsibility, saying it was retaliation for a string of attacks on Catholic civilians by Loyalists. It is believed members of the Provisional IRA carried out the attack, despite the organisation being on ceasefire.

Background

On 10 February 1975, the Provisional IRA and British government entered into a truce and restarted negotiations. The IRA agreed to halt attacks on the British security forces, and the security forces mostly ended their raids and searches.

There was a rise in sectarian killings during the truce. Loyalists, fearing they were about to be forsaken by the British government and forced into a united Ireland, increased their attacks on Irish Catholics/nationalists. They hoped to force the IRA to retaliate and thus end the truce.Some IRA units concentrated on tackling the loyalists. The fall-off of regular operations had caused unruliness within the IRA and some members, with or without permission from higher up, engaged in tit-for-tat killings.

On 22 August, loyalists killed three Catholic civilians in a gun and bomb attack on a pub in Armagh. Two days later, loyalists shot dead two Catholic civilians after stopping their car at a fake British Army checkpoint in the Tullyvallen area. Both of these attacks have been linked to the Glenanne gang. On 30 August, loyalists killed two more Catholic civilians in a gun and bomb attack on a pub in Belfast.

THE GLENANNE GANG – WHO ARE THEY? EXCLUSIVE BBC EXPOSE

Orange Hall attack

On the night of 1 September, a group of Orangemen were holding a meeting in their isolated Orange hall in the rural area of Tullyvallen. At about 10pm, two masked gunmen burst into the hall armed with assault rifles and sprayed it with bullets while others stood outside and fired through the windows.

 The Orangemen scrambled for cover. One of them was an off-duty Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer. He returned fire with a pistol and believed he hit one of the attackers.  Five of the Orangemen, all Protestant civilians, were killed while seven others were wounded.  Before leaving, the attackers also planted a 2 pound bomb outside the hall, but it failed to detonate.

The victims were John Johnston (80), James McKee (73) and his son William McKee (40), Nevin McConnell (48), and William Herron (68) who died two days later. They all belonged to Tullyvallen Guiding Star Temperance Orange Lodge.

Three of the dead were former members of the Ulster Special Constabulary.

Victims

01 September 1975

James McKee    (70)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

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01 September 1975
Ronald McKee,   (40)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

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01 September 1975
John Johnston,  (80)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

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01 September 1975
Nevin McConnell,   (40)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

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01 September 1975

William Herron,  (63)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh. He died 3 September 1975

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Aftermath

A caller to the BBC claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the “South Armagh Republican Action Force” or “South Armagh Reaction Force”, saying it was retaliation for “the assassinations of fellow Catholics”. The Irish Times reported on 10 September: “The Provisional IRA has told the British government that dissident members of its organisation were responsible” and “stressed that the shooting did not have the consent of the organisation’s leadership”.

In response to the attack, the Orange Order called for the creation of a legal militia (or “Home Guard”) to deal with republican paramilitaries.

Some of the rifles used in the attack were later used in the Kingsmill massacre in January 1976, when ten Protestant workmen were killed. Like the Tullyvallen massacre, it was claimed by the “South Armagh Reaction Force” (a cover name for IRA operatives in some operations at the time) as retaliation for the killing of Catholics elsewhere.

In November 1977, 22-year-old Cullyhanna man John Anthony McCooey was convicted of driving the gunmen to and from the scene and of IRA membership. He was also convicted of involvement in the killings of UDR soldier Joseph McCullough—chaplain of Tullyvallen Orange lodge—in February 1976, and UDR soldier Robert McConnell in April 1976.

South Armagh – “Bandit Country” (1976)

Main Source : Wikipedia

See also


Major Events in the Troubles

1st September Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

September 1971

Flag_of_the_Ulster_Defence_Association_svg


 A number of Loyalist Defence Associations came together and formed the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

[The UDA was to quickly become the largest of the Loyalist paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland. The smaller Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), which was responsible for many sectarian killings, was considered a cover name for the UDA. Indeed the UDA was a legal organisation between 1971 and 11 August 1992 when it was finally proscribed.]

See: UDA History & Background

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Wednesday 1 September 1971
 The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a series of bombs across Northern Ireland injuring a number of people.

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Monday 1 September 1975

Five Protestant civilians died and seven were injured as a result of an attack on an Orange Hall in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by a group called the South Armagh Republican Action force (SARAF) which was considered by many commentators to be a covername for members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Two members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) were killed by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in the continuing feud between the two Loyalist paramilitary groups. Denis Mullen (36), then a member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), was shot dead at his home near Moy, County Tyrone.

Thomas Taylor (50), a Protestant civilian, was shot dead by Republican paramilitaries at his place of work in Donegall Street, Belfast. Another Protestant civilian was shot dead, in a case of mistaken identity, by the UVF at a scrap metal yard near Glengormley, County Antrim. The intended targets were the Catholic owners of the business.

Tuesday 1 September 1981

First Integrated Secondary School Northern Ireland’s first religiously integrated secondary school, Lagan College, opened. [The integrated school movement was mainly driven by the desire of parents to have schools which would provide the opportunity for greater cross community contact amongst young people.]

Wednesday 1 September 1982

The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) shot and wounded Billy Dickson, then a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) member of Belfast City Council. A new Department of Economic Development was formed when the merger took place between the Departments of Commerce and Manpower.

[During September unemployment in Northern Ireland increased to 22.3 per cent of the workforce. ]

September 1991

Sunday 1 September 1991

Visit by USA Delegation A delegation of politicians from the United States of America (USA) arrived in Northern Ireland for a fact-finding visit. Tom Foley, then Democrat Party member and Speaker of the House of Representatives, led the delegation. Foley called on Americans not to provide financial support for NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee). Foley also refused to meet representatives of Sinn Féin (SF) until it had renounced the use of violence.

Wednesday 1 September 1993

James Bell (49), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at his place of work near to the Newtownards Road in east Belfast. James Peacock (44), a prison officer, was shot dead at his home in Belfast by the UVF.

[The UVF later threatened to kill more prison officers unless there were improvements in conditions for Loyalist prisoners. This threat was withdrawn on 10 September 1993.]

  1. The Unionist controlled Belfast City Council voted to ban Mary Robinson, then President of the Republic of Ireland, from entering any council owned property including the City Hall.

Thursday 1 September 1994

John O’Hanlon (32), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). He was killed outside a friend’s home in Skegoneill Avenue, Skegoneill, north Belfast.

Friday 1 September 1995

An Irish Republican Army (IRA) spokesperson was reported to have said: “There is absolutely no question of any IRA decommissioning at all, either through the back door or the front door”.

[The first act of decommissioning by the IRA happened on 23 October 2001.]

Sunday 1 September 1996

Billy Wright, a leading Loyalist who had been ordered to leave Northern Ireland by the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) on 28 August 1996, addressed a group of supporters at midnight; the time of the deadline set by the CLMC. A bomb was thrown through the window of the home of Alex Kerr’s parents (Alex Kerr was also under threat from the CLMC but was in police custody at the time of the attack). There were no injuries as a result of the bombing. A series of Orange marches were rerouted in Dunloy, Newry, lower Ormeau Road, Pomeroy, and Strabane.

Monday 1 September 1997

Relatives of three men that were shot dead on 13 January 1990 by undercover soldiers walked out of an inquest in Belfast in protest at the “restricted scope” of the inquiry.

[The three men, Edward Hale (25), John McNeill (43), and Peter Thompson (23), all Catholic civilians, were shot dead during an attempted robbery at Sean Graham’s bookmaker’s shop at the junction of Whiterock Road and Falls Road, Belfast.]

David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), held a meeting in Armagh with leaders of the Catholic Church. The meeting was part of a consultation process that the UUP engaged in to determine whether or not to take part in the Stormont talks. Trimble said later that the UUP would not meet Sinn Féin (SF) face-to-face. It was announced that the new head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland would be John Semple.

Tuesday 1 September 1998

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), announced in a statement that: “Sinn Féin believe the violence we have seen must be for all of us now a thing of the past, over, done with and gone.” David Trimble in his role as First Minister Designate, invited Gerry Adams to a round-table meeting.

[These developments came in advance of the arrival of Bill Clinton, then President of the United States of America (USA), on a visit to Northern Ireland on 3 September 1998.]

In an interview the Irish Republican Army (IRA) said that it would not decommission its weapons and claimed that Unionists were using the issue to try to re-negotiate the Good Friday Agreement. The interview was given to ‘An Phoblacht / Republican News’ and was published in full on Thursday 3 September 1998 in the paper. In addition the IRA said that it would do all in its power to help the relatives of people who had disappeared during the conflict. John Bruton, then leader of Fine Gael (FG), said the statement by the IRA on decommissioning made it unthinkable that politicians associated with it could take part in an Executive. The Garda Síochána (the Irish police) established a special unit to investigate malicious calls to the families of two young Buncrana boys killed in the Omagh bombing

Saturday 1 September 2001

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) held a meeting of its 120 member executive to decide its response to the ‘Patten Report – Updated Implementation Plan 2001’ that was issued on 17 August 2001. The meeting unanimously supported a motion outlining: “the leader’s determination to resolve satisfactorily with the Secretary of State a number of fundamental issues regarding the Policing Board and the police implementation plan before any further decision is given by the Ulster Unionist Party to nominating members to the Policing Board”. In an interview with the BBC David Ervine, then leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), suggested that individual members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) may have been responsible for the attempted car bomb attack on the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, County Antrim, on 28 August 2001.


Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the follow  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.


 14 People lost their lives on the 1st September between 1973 – 1994

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01 September 1973
Anne Marie Petticrew,   (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died nine days after being injured in premature bomb explosion in house, Elaine Street, Stranmillis, Belfast

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01 September 1975

Denis Mullen,   (36)

Catholic
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) member. Shot at his home, Collegeland, near Moy, County Armagh.

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01 September 1975
Thomas Taylor,  (50)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Found shot at his TV repair shop, Donegall Street, Belfast.

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01 September 1975

James McKee,   (70)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

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01 September 1975
Ronald McKee,   (40)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

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01 September 1975
John Johnston,  (80)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

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01 September 1975
Nevin McConnell,   (40)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

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01 September 1975


William Herron,  (63)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Republican Action Force (RepAF)
Shot during gun attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, Newtownhamilton, County Armagh. He died 3 September 1975

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01 September 1975
Leslie Shepherd,  (24)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at scrapyard, Lisnalinchy, near Glengormley, County Antrim. Catholic owners of the scrapyard were the intended targets.

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01 September 1979
Gerry Lennon,  (23)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his workplace, a shop, Antrim Road, Belfast.

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01 September 1987
Eamon Maguire,  (33)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot, Conalig, near Cullaville, County Armagh. Alleged informer.

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01 September 1993


 James Bell,   (49)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his workplace, Riada Factory, Chadolly Street, off Newtownards

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01 September 1993


James Peacock,   (44)

Protestant
Status: Prison Officer (PO),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Off duty. Shot at his home, Joanmount Park, Ballysillan, Belfast

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01 September 1994


John O’Hanlon,  (32)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot, outside friends home, Skegoneill Avenue, Skegoneill, Belfast

Main source CAIN Web Service


See: UDA History & Background