Painful Christmas anniversaries in Derry


The wife of a man killed in one of the worst loyalist massacres in Derry has called for the investigation into her husband’s death to be re-opened.

Five men, four Catholics and one Protestant, were shot dead when loyalist paramilitaries, believed to be the UDA, opened fire on Annie’s Bar in Derry’s Top of the Hill on December 20 1972. No-one has ever been convicted of the killings which occurred as one of the worst year of the conflict drew to a close.

Four people were also injured in the attack when the gunmen fired up to 20 shots into the bar which was packed with Christmas drinkers.

The five men killed in the attack were: Bernard Kelly (26), Frank McCarron (58), Charles McCafferty (32), Charles Moore (31) and 37 year-old Michael McGinley.

Now, Bernard Kelly’s wife has called on authorities to re-open the investigation into the murders.

Marie Kelly, who was pregnant at the time, said the victim’s relatives had many unanswered questions.

“There are plenty of cases like ours that people have not found out anything at all. At least then you would know that justice has been done for five lives that should never been taken.

“It is horrendous that there are people out there who know, but I always say they have to live with it. It must be on their mind all the time,” she said.

Eileen Doherty, Charlie McCafferty’s step-daughter, recalled him as a “really good man”.

“When my mum re-married - my father died when I was just seven - and Charlie came into our lives, it gave us a second chance at living,” she said.

She believes the anniversary is important as the Annie’s Bar killings are, in her words, very much the “forgotten massacre”.


Nine days after the atrocity, the British Army continued the slaughter in Derry with the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed IRA commandant. James ‘Junior’ McDaid, was shot dead by British soldiers near Ballyarnett House close to the Donegal border.

His wife Patsy was working in a shirt factory while her husband was being gunned down.

Though it’s 45 years ago today Patsy vividly recalls walking in to see her mother sitting in deep discussion with Father Edward Daly in her living room.

She sensed immediately something terrible was wrong. “I remember it like yesterday. Bishop Daly was sitting in the house with my mother and I knew the minute I saw him that something was wrong.

“He told me then about ‘Junior’ being shot out there in that field in Ballyarnett. He was shot through the heart.”

Of the three IRA Volunteers present, only ‘Junior’ was killed. At the time the British Army claimed a military patrol had encountered three men near the border, one of whom, they claimed, was armed with a light rifle. The Derry Brigade of the IRA denied that any of the men had been armed, a fact that was later corroborated at inquest.

Patsy remembers her late husband as someone who was totally dedicated to the republican cause and that he had been fully aware of the potential outcome of his IRA involvement.

“When he joined he was very sensible. He would have said to himself: ‘I might get killed but to hell with it’. He was that dedicated to ‘the movement’ he just put his whole heart into it.”

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