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BBC Radio Ulster's Chris Lindsay
Some of the victims were shot while kneeling in prayer, others while trying to escape through a window
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Friday, 1 September, 2000, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Community marks 25-year-old atrocity
Tullyallen atrocity: Five Orangemen killed by IRA
Tullyallen atrocity: Five Orangemen killed by IRA
Relatives of the victims of an IRA atrocity in south Armagh will gather with members of the clergy and local people to mark its 25th anniversary on Friday.

IRA gunmen attacked the remote hall owned by the Protestant Orange Order at Tullyvallen on 1 September 1975.

Five Orangemen were killed in the attack for which no-one was ever brought to justice.

Some of the victims were elderly and were killed while kneeling in prayer while others were shot as they tried to flee through a window.

If a car moved you thought the end of the world had come largely because fear stalked the roads in those days

Revd. Russell Birnie
Reverend Russell Birnie was the Presbyterian Convenor for the area at the time and travelled around to the families of the victims to offer words of comfort.

"I remember the night it happened. I got the call to go up because something terrible had happened.

"We went around the various homes. I remember one house in particular where the woman of the house hadn't heard anything about this and I had to break the news and that was shocking."

He spoke of another family which lost a grandfather and father in the shooting.

"There was one young lad left - I think he was about fifteen - and there fell on his shoulders of being the man of the house and having to bring in the harvest.

"I remember that so well because with the help of neighbours and folk who just appeared on the scene, they managed to bring in the harvest that autumn.

"A young fellow who should never have to bear that responsibility had to."

Following the attack, tension in the area was palpable according to Mr Birnie.

"I would have to go up on occasions late at night. Every tree was a potential gunman, the shadow over the road.

"If a car moved you thought the end of the world had come largely because fear stalked the roads in those days."

A very high price was paid by the Unionist community

Danny Kennedy
UUP Assembly member
Ulster Unionist Assembly member Danny Kennedy has a close association with the area. Shortly after the massacre he joined the Tullyvallen Silver Band.

"It's one of those atrocities that, whilst largely forgotten unfortunately by the rest of Northern Ireland, is remembered almost every day in the local area.

"I think there is still an enormous sadness that prevails. The community has had to try and lift itself up and move on but it's been extremely difficult."

He believes the fact that no-one was convicted for the killings, which were not the only Troubles-related murders in the area, has compounded the suffering felt locally.

This makes Friday's ceremony of remembrance all the more important, he says.

"It will be a time for the community to remember the sacrifices, as it does every day, and perhaps the wider community to remember the sacrifices in south Armagh.

"A very high price was paid by the unionist community."

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See also:

15 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Omagh bomb victims remembered
18 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Controversy over victims' plaque
20 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Memorial marks 'forgotten' atrocity
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