Plastic bullets have claimed another victim after a west Belfast man’s death was linked to the serious injuries he suffered after being struck by one 23 years ago.

Dominic Marron collapsed and died on Tuesday. In 1981, at the age of 14, he was struck in the head by a plastic bullet fired by British Crown forces.

He was hospitalised for a period and was left with brain damage and partial paralysis.

The bullet was fired in the vicinity of Dunville Park on the Falls Road during disturbances which followed the death of hunger striker Bobby Sands in May 1981.

Clara Reilly, chairperson of Relatives for Justice, said Mr Marron “suffered horrific head injuries which left him with devastating paralysis and brain damage”.

“As we highlighted his case across the world Dominic, with his family, tried to rebuild his life. He had to learn to walk and talk again and would never regain full capacity and suffered serious ill health for the rest of his too short life,” Ms Reilly said.

She described Mr Marron as an “inspiration”.

“He married and had two beautiful sons. He was eager to participate in activities that could help him overcome the effects of brain damage and help him with supporting his sons’ education.

“He was also a fervent campaigner against plastic bullets. When the new bullet was introduced, despite his terrible ill health, Dominic went to Stor-mont to lobby politicians. He was an inspiration to us all as he fought to tell the world of the real horror of plastic bullets.”

Ms Reilly said there was no doubt whatsoever in his family’s minds that Mr Marron died as a result of the injury that was inflicted on him in 1981.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said people in west Belfast had been shocked and angered that another life had been claimed by plastic bullets.

“We also must remember that the PSNI continue to use a new and even more lethal plastic bullet weapon. This is completely unacceptable and the news of Dominic Marron’s death is a tragic reminder of the lethal threat still being posed by these killer devices.”

Mr Marron is survived by his wife and two young sons, Nicholas and Gary.

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2004 Irish Republican News