Derry commemorations remember Operation Motorman’s teen victims

A plaque has been unveiled at the spot where a Derry teenager was shot dead by the British Army fifty years ago.

Hugh Brady with Kathleen Devenney and Margaret Brady, sisters of  Daniel Hegarty, at the unveiling of a plaque to mark the 50th anniversary of his killing by a British soldier. DER2231GS – 033
Hugh Brady with Kathleen Devenney and Margaret Brady, sisters of Daniel Hegarty, at the unveiling of a plaque to mark the 50th anniversary of his killing by a British soldier. DER2231GS – 033

Daniel Hegarty was just 15-years-old when he was gunned down at Creggan Heights in the early hours of July 31, 1972.

Daniel was shot twice in the head at point-blank range with a machine gun during the opening hours of Operation Motorman when the British Army re-took the “no-go” areas of ‘Free Derry’.

Daniel’s cousin, Christopher, was injured in the incident.

A plaque unveiled on Sunday afternoon last, in Creggan, on the 50th anniversary of the death of 15 year-old Daniel Hegarty killed by a British soldier during Operation Motorman on 31 July 1972. DER2231GS - 034

It was initially claimed by the army that the teenager had been carrying a nail bomb before the allegation was later withdrawn.

An inquest in 2011 found that he had not been posing a threat when shot.

On Sunday afternoon last, a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the location at Creggan Heights where Daniel was shot.

The event was attended by members of Daniel’s family, as well as friends and relatives of other people killed during the Troubles.

Etta D'Arcy, on right, sister of Seamus Bradley, pictured at Sunday's commemoration in Creggan. DER2231GS – 028

Daniel’s sister, Margaret Brady, again insisted her family would “fight on” to secure justice and accountability for his death.

Also on Sunday, a commemoration to remember the other teenager shot dead by the army in Derry during Operation Motorman took place.

Seamus Bradley (19) was shot dead close to the Bishop’s Field in Creggan as he was watching the British Army operation.

He was an IRA volunteer but he was not armed when he was killed.

The Army claimed the teenager was shot while he was in a tree and suffered additional injuries as he fell.

His family alleged he was killed later, claiming he was taken away in an Army vehicle.

In 2019, a coroner rejected both those versions and found that the teenager’s killing was unjustified and that the investigation into his death was flawed and inadequate.