A woman whose stepfather and four other men were gunned down by loyalist paramilitaries in a Waterside pub 45 years ago has described the shootings as the “forgotten massacre.”
The 45th anniversary of the gun attack at Annie’s Bar in the Top of the Hill will be marked tonight (Tuesday) with a Mass at St Columb’s Church, Chapel Road, at 7.30 p.m.
It was on December 20, 1972, that loyalist gunmen burst into the pub and opened fire with a sub-machine gun and a pistol.
The gunmen fired around 20 shots into the busy bar, killing five people and wounding four more as they watched a football match.
The five men who died were all local - Michael McGinley (37), Charles McCafferty (32), Charles Moore (31), Bernard Kelly (28) and Frank McCarron (58).
Eileen Doherty, Charlie McCafferty’s step-daughter, recalls 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 told the ‘Journal’.
“My mother, Betty, was from Derry but her family had emigrated to Australia and she had two sisters living in Scotland. So, in effect, she had no-one.
“Charlie took on all five children from the first marriage and loved them all like they were his own. He was a really good man.”
Charlie and Betty, says Eileen, went on to have two children of their own - Kevin and Lisa who were aged just two and one respectively when their father was killed.
Eileen believes tonight’s anniversary Mass is important as the Annie’s Bar killings are, in her words, very much the “forgotten massacre”.
“We should never forget these men who were murdered so close to Christmas,” she says.
It’s understood Eileen’s family have no information about the shootings and were never contacted by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) which was set up in 2005 to investigate the 3,269 unsolved murders committed during the Troubles. It was wound up in September 2014 when the PSNI restructured following budget cuts.
The Derry-based Pat Finucane Centre has, on behalf of Eileen Doherty’s family, contacted the PSNI Legacy Investigations Branch - which is re-investigating 1,118 deaths not previously reviewed or completed by the HET - to ask if a report was ever prepared and, if so, to request a copy of it.
According to the PFC, the family does not know if anyone was ever arrested or prosecuted in connection with the 1972 shootings.