Derry Journal

Derry Group Appeals For Murder Witnesses
Tuesday 25th May 2004

THE DERRY based human rights group, the Pat Finucane Centre is appealing to GAA supporters to watch a BBC Spotlight Special to be screened tonight which investigates allegations of collusion in the Armagh and Tyrone area in the 1970s in the hope that it might jog some memories of a double murder.

The Centre hopes that the programme may jog the memories of witnesses who may have vital information regarding the murder of two GAA supporters in South Armagh on August 24, 1975.

The two murder victims, Colm McCartney and Sean Farmer, were from Bellaghy in County Derry and Moy, County Tyrone and were returning from the 1975 GAA football semi-finals in Dublin.

The two men were stopped at a bogus security forces checkpoint on the road between Castleblaney and Newtownhamilton, (the A25), approximately 600 yards north of the County Bridge border crossing in an area known as Altnamackin, sometimes referred to as Cortamlaght, Cortamlet or Tullyvallen.

Both men were taken from their vehicle at the checkpoint and shot dead.

Other supporters returning from Croke Park passed through the same fake checkpoint; some in a convoy of cars, having been diverted by official diversion signs soon after crossing the border at a different location.

At least five armed men in uniform were at the bogus checkpoint, which may have been in place from approximately 10pm to 11.35pm on the evening of August 24 1975.

The PFC is anxious to talk to anyone who was diverted from their route, who drove through the fake checkpoint, arrived on the scene of the murder soon after or has any information relating to this or other incidents at the time.

Potential witnesses will remember that Kildare lost to Tyrone in the minor semi-final while Derry lost to Dublin in the senior semi-final.

PFC spokesperson, Alan Brecknell, whose father was murdered in a gun and bomb attack on Donnelly's Bar, Silverbridge, said in advance of the programme: "We are hoping that witnesses may come forward in relation to a number of fatal attacks in the area at the time.

"The Donnelly's Bar attack was linked to the murders at Altnamackin and in turn to a whole series of attacks in Armagh, Tyrone, Monaghan, Down, Louth and Dublin. We are hopeful that tonight's programme may jog memories."

The Spotlight programme will focus on allegations that those responsible for the Dublin and Monaghan bombings went on to carry out dozens of other murders with virtual impunity.

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