Steven Travers, one of the two surviving members of the Miami showband, has called for an apology to be made to Eugene Reavey, who was falsely accused by the Rev Ian Paisley of organising the Kingsmills massacre in revenge for the UVF murder of his three brothers.
Paisley made his accusation in late January, 1999 under cover of House of Commons privilege, claiming that a security force dossier in his possession had named Eugene Reavey as one of those behind the attack.
Ian Paisley Snr’s action was defended by his son, Ian Paisley Jnr who at the time told the media that no apology would be made for the allegation.
The then RUC Chief Constable, Ronnie Flanagan strongly denied Paisley’s charge, saying the alleged dossier in Paisley’s possession did not emanate from his force and that Mr Reavey was not considered a suspect in the killings.
Ian Paisley Snr is now dead but his son, Ian Paisley Jnr who took his father’s place as MP for North Antrim is still alive. He was quoted in a 1999 Guardian reports as saying:
“The report that my father quoted from was a confidential police dossier. There is not the slightest chance of an apology being offered.”
Thebrokenelbow.com has emailed Ian Paisley Jnr with a copy of this post, asking if he was now prepared to apologise to Mr Reavey on behalf of his father.
Stephen Travers was badly wounded in the attacks which killed three members of the band and wounded one other in July 1975. They had played a gig in Belfast and were en route to Dublin when they were stopped at a bogus military checkpoint which was really manned by members of the UVF.
The UVF planned to leave a bomb in their car which was set to explode some time later, thus creating the suspicion that the showband was smuggling explosives for republicans. However the bomb exploded prematurely killing two UVF men.
The surviving UVF gunmen opened fire on the showband members, killing Fran O’Toole, Brian McCoy and Tony Geraghty and wounding Stephen Travers and Des Lee.
Stephen Travers made his call for an apology in a tweet responding to a brokenelbow.com post dealing with the Paisley allegation against Eugene Reavey. Two of Reavey’s brothers were shot dead and a third fatally wounded when UVF gunmen broke into their home in Whitecross in south Armagh two days before the Kingsmill massacre.