The family of murdered independent councillor and civil rights activist from Tyrone, Patsy Kelly, have taken to social media to express their outrage and trauma at British government plans to introduce a blanket amnesty for the conflict.
Boris Johnson’s announcement of an amnesty was particularly hard for the Kelly family to accept as in the same week they marked the 47th anniversary of their husband and father’s abduction, murder and disappearance.
In a report by the Fermanagh Herald, Patsy Kelly junior, who was not born at the time of his father’s killing, described the plans as “traumatising”.
His father was a 35-year-old independent nationalist councillor who was murdered and disappeared one night as he made his way home from the pub he managed in the village of Trillick.
A patrol of the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment was said to be in the area at the same time. After he was killed, Patsy Kelly’s murderers tied two 56lb weights to his body before dumping his remains in Lough Eyes near Lisbellaw. It was several weeks before a fisherman uncovered his body.
In 2018, new evidence emerged from a British Army record which recorded ammunition found in the lake matched the same calibre of bullet that was used to murder him 20 miles away in Trillick. A military boot print was found at the scene of his murder near his home
“Some in authority believe that those British soldiers in the UDR who abducted and murdered Councillor Patsy Kelly should receive an amnesty,” a post on the Patsy Kelly Campaign for Truth and Justice facebook page read.
“That our family and many, many others should draw a line and move on.”
“Move on and stop seeking answers, move on and behave as if what happened to Patsy doesn’t matter. Move on and forget how a civil rights activist and community leader was abducted at a security force checkpoint on his drive home to his wife and young children.
“Move on and do not ask who inflicted the burns to Patsy’s forearm.
“Don’t ask who inflicted the wounds and lacerations on his scalp. Don’t ask who inflicted the strangulation that shattered his voice box.
“Don’t ask who fired the multiple shots into Patsy’s body that killed him.”
All five political parties in the North, the Dublin government and victims’ groups have all come out in criticism of the plans.
“We won’t stop asking, pushing and fighting for truth and justice for Patsy,” the Patsy Kelly Campaign for Truth and Justice post concluded, “We won’t stop.”