Feeley pays tribute to Belturbet bomb dead 50 years on

TRIBUTES were paid in Belturbet to two teenagers “who were doing simple things before becoming forever intertwined” by the horrors of 50 years ago.
Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Cllr John Paul Feeley, spoke at the commemoration of the Belturbert Bombing of 1972 and honoured the short lives of Geraldine O’Reilly and Patrick Stanley who were killed when a device planted by loyalist terrorists exploded in the town’s Main Street.
In remembering the two teenagers, Cllr Feeley spoke of how their tragic deaths was the culmination of what was the most violent year of The Troubles and how the bombing put back all attempts to build bridges between North and South for some time.
He said: “The final moments of Geraldine O’Reilly and Patrick Stanley’s lives are very much the bits and pieces that make up ordinary life today just as they did 50 years ago.
“A teenager running into a takeaway for a bag of chips and another taking a moment to step aside to call home in a telephone box, albeit that a teenager today might not know
what a telephone box is, were and are very ordinary, normal, everyday actions.
“Doing those two simple things, two teenagers who did not know each other, who never met, have become forever intertwined by their deaths on this street, yards apart. They are now immortalised in the sculpture (of them) by Mel Ffrench, unveiled in 2007.
“1972 was one of the bloodiest of the bloody years of the troubles.
“A series of incidents culminated with a loyalist bomb which damaged Aghalane Bridge, subsequently finished off by the British Army.
“On Christmas Eve of that year a bailey-bridge had restored two-way traffic which, no doubt, gave a sense of hope, of confidence, if not defiance to people locally. Four days later that air of confidence and hope was truly shattered.
Cllr Feeley highlighted the pain and suffering caused to the families of Geraldine and Patrick and how their grief has been further compounded by the fact that no one has stood trial for their killings.
He added: “When Patrick and Geraldine, two teenagers, were killed here, a burden of grief, loss and injustice was placed on the shoulders of the Stanley and O’Reilly Families.
“That burden of grief, carried to the grave by many of the family of Geraldine and Patrick was compounded by the knowledge that those responsible have never been brought to trial, while those who mourn have been denied the truth and denied justice and have borne the frustration of that for 50 years.

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