Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre

When the Republic of Ireland take to the pitch against Italy tonight, both the match and the date will carry painful memories for many on the island of Ireland.

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When the Republic of Ireland’s football team takes to the field against Italy tonight in their final group game of the European Championships, the black armbands sported by the players are not a visual aid to symbolise the Republic of Ireland’s disappointing showing in the contest.

IrelandRather, the gesture commemorates another Ireland vs Italy game from the World Cup exactly 18 years ago, watched by the regulars of The Heights bar in Loughinisland, County Down.

They had sat down to watch the game when gunmen burst in and shot six of them dead, injuring another five.

The victims – Adrian Rogan, 34, Malcolm Jenkinson, 52, Daniel McCreanor, 59, Patrick O’Hare, 35, Eamon Byrne, 39, and 87-year-old Barney Greene, one of the oldest people killed in the Northern Ireland Troubles – were all Catholics, gunned down by a loyalist hit squad. The killer was said to be laughing as he fled the scene.

The men were killed by a local unit of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) during a tense stage of the political process, following the Downing Street Declaration in December 1993 and ahead of the first IRA ceasefire in August 1994.

Allegations of collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and the killers have long persisted. However, Northern Ireland’s Police Ombudsman found “insufficient” evidence of collusion, although he did find multiple failings with the police investigation, including the destruction of evidence.

 


See also:

Sinn Fein’s twin aims: Winning friends in the north and finding some southern comfort 28 May 2012

Sinn Fein plans next moves towards Irish unity 10 Feb 2012

McGuinness in Irish unity poll call 31 Jan 2012

How does Northern Ireland achieve reconciliation in 2012? 3 Jan 2012

Should Northern Ireland football scrap God Save the Queen? 13 Dec 2011


 

Eighteen years to the day later, much has changed for the better in Northern Ireland. However the anniversary, combined with the scheduling of this evening’s game against Italy, means this particular atrocity should not go unmarked.

Quoted in the Belfast Telegraph, Ireland football captain, Robbie Keane, explained why the players were making the gesture:

It’s only right that we do wear the armbands in respect of everyone’s families to let them know as a team and as a nation, that we are thinking of their families.”

 


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21 Responses to “Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre”

  1. Sean Mahon

    RT @leftfootfwd: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre //t.co/ohsSAuSA #Ireland #Euro2012

  2. Political Planet

    Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre: When the Republic of Ireland team takes the pitc… //t.co/JMTDIYMg

  3. leftlinks

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  4. bethan.lant

    //t.co/OoHNNizV Interestingly political commemoration by ROI football team.

  5. Kevin Meagher

    Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre //t.co/6gA0iaXf by @KevinPMeagher

  6. Duncan Vessey

    Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre //t.co/6gA0iaXf by @KevinPMeagher

  7. Liam

    Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre //t.co/6gA0iaXf by @KevinPMeagher

  8. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre //bit.ly/Ls9QpC

  9. Miche Doherty

    @RevRichardColes Anniversary of Loughinisland massacre. //t.co/r6JjxoU2

  10. PLURR

    Football's gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre | Left … //t.co/8buHVtJw

  11. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre //t.co/xyVKkDR2

  12. James Sharrock

    Frm last nite: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre: //t.co/6gA0iaXf by @KevinPMeagher

  13. Clive Burgess

    Frm last nite: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre: //t.co/6gA0iaXf by @KevinPMeagher

  14. Liz McShane

    Frm last nite: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre: //t.co/6gA0iaXf by @KevinPMeagher

  15. Ged Robinson

    Frm last nite: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre: //t.co/6gA0iaXf by @KevinPMeagher

  16. Wills Heaney

    Frm last nite: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre: //t.co/6gA0iaXf by @KevinPMeagher

  17. Marc T

    RT @leftfootfwd: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre //t.co/t0DfWiHx #ireland #italy #Euro2012

  18. BevR

    Frm last nite: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre: //t.co/6gA0iaXf by @KevinPMeagher

  19. Kevin Meagher

    RT @leftfootfwd: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre //t.co/Y2bUVVNO

  20. Matt Dixon

    RT @leftfootfwd: Football’s gesture of respect on the anniversary of a massacre //t.co/Y2bUVVNO

  21. Kevin Doran

    So tahts why the Irish werewearing black armbands last night. .A touching tribute to the catholics killed by UVF //t.co/W2mUXOPb

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