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Rev Ian Paisley again called on to withdraw Reavey allegations

Newry and Armagh Assemblyman Dominic Bradley has renewed his call for the Rev Ian Paisley to withdraw his “groundless allegations against the Reavey family” after the BBC broadcast its in-depth programme with the former First Minister.

Mr Bradley urged: “Now is the time for the Rev Ian Paisley to withdraw the groundless allegations he made under Parliamentary privilege in the House of Commons on 27 January 1999 linking the innocent victims to the IRA.

“Mr Paisley, unfortunately, did not, as hoped, retract his allegations before Mr Reavey’s  mother, Sadie, passed away in July last in her 90th year.

“Many people, including the former Chief Constable of the RUC, Ronnie Flanagan, Commander Dave Cox of the HET, former Deputy First Minister Séamus Mallon, attested to the falseness of the allegations, yet Dr Paisley has continually refused to set the record straight.

“All Mr Reavey and his family ask is that Dr Paisley do the right thing and retract these scurrilous allegations, which have been an added hurt to that suffered by the family through the murder of the brothers at the hands of the Glenanne Murder Gang.”

Mrs Reavey had long campaigned for justice for her sons.

John Martin, 24, Brian, 22, and Anthony Reavey, 17, were gunned down by the UVF in their Whitecross home in January 1976. John Martin and Brian died instantly, while Anthony died weeks later. The killings took place during one of the bloodiest periods of the Troubles.

Three members of the Catholic O’Dowd family were shot dead by loyalists in Ballydugan, Co Armagh, the same night as the attack in Whitecross, while the following day republican gunmen killed 10 Protestant workmen in the Armagh village of Kingsmills.

The Reavey killings have long been a source of controversy, with claims security force elements colluded with the loyalist gang involved.

In 1999 former Stormont First Minister Dr Ian Paisley claimed in the House of Commons, using Parliamentary privilege, that another Reavey brother, Eugene, was involved in organising the Kingsmills massacre.

Dr Paisley, now Lord Bannside, has been challenged on a number of occasions to retract and apologise for the allegation – including during a special Assembly debate on the issue three years ago – but has not done so.

A review of the case by the police’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET) found that no member of the Reavey family had any paramilitary connections.

Newry and Armagh Assemblyman Danny Kennedy was among those to pay tribute to Mrs Reavey after her passing last July.

“Mrs Reavey had to endure the loss of three sons and she had a very difficult experience to come through,” he said.

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