Nationalist politician shot dead by loyalists
LOYALIST gunmen were almost certainly responsible for the
assassination on Wednesday evening of John Turnly, founder member
and joint chairman of the Irish Independence Party, which broke
away from the collaborationist SDLP three years ago.
John Turnly had driven into Carnlough Village, County Antrim, for
a meeting with other councillors to disuss new development
schemes in the area. His wife and two small children were with
him when three hooded gunmen struck as the car, driven by his
wife, came to a halt in Harbour Road.
More than a dozen shots were fired and John Turnley was hit
several times in the chest and body and died in the ambulance on
the way to the Moyle Hospital in Larne. His wife was treated by a
doctor at the scene.
The car used by the assassins was later found burned out on the
Ballymena Road out of the village. Within the last two months,
republican supporters and AP/RN sellers in Ballymena, Paisley's
headquarters in his Antrim constituency, have been threatened
with death by loyalist groups.
John Turnly joined the SDLP when he returned from a business
career in Japan in 1972. Disillusioned by the pro-British
policies of the SDLP, he and several other SDLP councillors split
from the party and formed the IIP. Recently, the IIP have held
talks with Neil Blaney's Independent group and are in the process
of setting up a cross-border nationalist party. John Turnly had
been active in building support for the National H-Block
Committee's campaign on behalf of republican prisoners denied
Phoblacht, Saturday 7 June 1980