‘My mother asked not to be murdered in front of us’

PACEMAKER BELFAST   29/8/2006'Dominic (11) left and Declan (9) McGlinchey pictured at the funeral of their mother Mary, Dominic who was found guilty of an assault on a police officer during an anti war protest in 2007
PACEMAKER BELFAST 29/8/2006'Dominic (11) left and Declan (9) McGlinchey pictured at the funeral of their mother Mary, Dominic who was found guilty of an assault on a police officer during an anti war protest in 2007

A BELLAGHY man who witnessed his mother’s cold-blooded murder has told how she asked her killers not to be murdered in front of her children.

Twenty-five years ago Mary McGlinchey, wife of INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey, was gunned down in the bathroom of her own home whilst she bathed her two young sons.

On Easter Saturday thousands gathered at the Bellaghy grave side of the couple to commemorate the anniversaries of their deaths.

Mother-of-three Mary was murdered on January 31st 1987 by “faceless strangers” who shot her at point blank range in the bathroom of her Dundalk home.

Her husband, INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey from Bellaghy was murdered in similar violent circumstances on 10th February 1994 when he was shot 14 times whilst using a phone box in the Republic.

Both files remain open on their murders and no-one has ever been charged.

Leading the tributes at the special service was son Declan McGlinchey, who described the night his mother was executed.

“Like so many others who suffered similar fates, we carry the pain of this night as best we can and try to turn them into giving us the strength to do the right thing in the future,” he said.

“My mother was a remarkable women cut down at the age of 31. She was younger than I am now. She had so much to give to us as a mother and to the struggle.

“My mother had many fears but death was not one of them. I know it, my brother knows it and the men who killed her know it, as one of the last things she said was to be taken outside and not killed in front of her children. She was a fearless revolutionary and fearless to the end.”

The republican activist also told how his mother was moved to join the republican movement to “bring about change”.

“She was an astute thinker, who understood the need for a broad based movement to bring about change, as some of you knew her and told me many a story about her. She was someone that did not expect anyone to do what she would not do herself. Like many other women of her generation this brought her into direct military action against the crown forces and other counter revolutionaries,” he said.

Mrs McGlinchey joined the INLA after her husband, who was interned for 10 months in the early seventies.

Dominic McGlinchey Snr spent time in prison for arms and republican related crimes in the late 70’s and 80’s. The INLA leader was imprisoned in the Republic when his wife was murdered and was unable to attend her funeral. Despite his high ranking in the deadly paramilitary organisation, Mr McGlinchey, according to son Declan, held his own thoughts and standing on the republican movement “not owned” by any group.

Declan said: “He also understood that names and titles had no relevance and that organisations were only vehicles in which to travel as a part of your journey. He was led by a very clear ideology and no group or organisation owns his thoughts.

“My father was a bridge builder he could reach out to people and make them believe that it was possible. He did not conform to ‘can’t do’ club.”

Also leading tributes to the South Derry couple was leading ‘unrepentant’ republican Colin Duffy who spoke at the Bellaghy service.

The Lurgan activist, who was cleared in January of the murders two soldiers in County Antrim 2009, described McGlinchey Snr as “an inspiration”

He said: “Let us take the example laid down by Dominic, Mary and others, that only when we begin to look beyond sectional interests and narrow minded sectarianism, can we begin to see the bright horizons of a true Republic, that only when we allow the objectives of the struggle to determine our actions can we create the common purpose needed to complete that struggle, that only when personal interests are set to one side can we truly liberate and that all of our endeavours will be dedicated to ensuring that the next generation of Irishmen and Irishwomen do not have to face the hardships and choices that Dominic, Mary and their generation have had to face.”

A new headstone for the family grave, in which the South Derry couple are buried along with their daughter Marie, who passed away in infancy, was unveiled at the ceremony.