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CRIES OF INNOCENTS 16 SEPTEMBER 2008
A Catholic father shot dead by the IRA in front of his son was the sixth person murdered by terrorists in 17 days – leaving a total of 22 children without a parent.
Haulage contractor Adrian McGovern (34) was at home with his four children in their bungalow at Stoneyford, near Lisburn, last night when he was gunned down as he answered the door. The alarm was raised by the eldest child, 8 year old Tony, who managed to telephone for an ambulance. The boy and his brothers then had to wait for help in the house – while their father’s dead body lay in the driveway.
The IRA claimed responsibility for the murder claiming Mr McGovern was paid by the Ministry of Defence to supply building materials for police and military installations. In a statement to a radio station, the IRA also threatened to shoot others if they failed to stop working for the security forces.
Mrs Eleanor Calvert, who lives across the road from the McGovern’s, was on children were of the first people to arrive on the scene, along with the dead man’s brother, who collapsed in a chair of shock.
“The children were crying. I said ‘where is your mummy’ and they said ‘mummy is at work’. The little boy had called the ambulance and I called the police. The children were repeatedly saying’ daddy was shot’.
BISHOP ATTACKS COWARDLY KILLERS
A Bishop today told mourners that terrorist killers did not have the courage to gaze into the eyes of the innocent children they had robbed of a parent.
Dr Anthony Farquhar was speaking at the funeral of Catholic haulier Adrian McGovern (34), shot dead by the IRA at his home at Stoneyford near Lisburn earlier this week. Mr McGovern was looking after his four children Tony (8) John (5), Eamonn (3) and 18 month old Roseanne when the gunmen knocked on his door.
His wife Rosemary, a midwife and expecting their fifth child, was at work. The IRA said they had targeted their victim because he supplied materials for police and military installations.
Mr McGovern’s murder brought the terror death toll in the province to six in 17 days. The carnage has left 22 children without one parent. Dr Farquhar said that in recent weeks the people of Northern Ireland had witnessed a ‘trail of death, destruction and devastation.’ He told mourners who packed St. Peter’s church, Stoneyford, all those affected by the murders were ‘kinspeople in the unifying pain of brutal bereavement.’
Of the killers he said “You are still afraid to look into the yes of children, you are still closed to the tears of questioning innocents.” Parish Priest Fr John Hutton described Mr McGovern as a very fine young man, industrious, hardworking and dedicated to his family.
“It is heartbreaking and a sad reflection to our society that we now have a young woman without a husband and four young children without a father simply because he was determined to love them, provide for them and support them,” he said. “Those who struck so cruelly on Wednesday might have known the legacy of grief, suffering and sorrow they were going to leave behind.”
The family, he said, were grateful for the cross-community support they had received, particularly from their protestant neighbours.