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MUSICIAN Stephen Travers hopes a new documentary on a notorious massacre in the north of Ireland during the Troubles will lead to justice almost 50 years later.
In a new Netflix documentary released later this month he says that the 1975 Miami Showband Massacre was not a random sectarian attack but was masterminded by British intelligence services.
Three members of the band, one of Ireland’s most popular, were killed in the attack by the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).
They were heading to Dublin in their van when they were stopped by uniformed men at what looked like a random army checkpoint near Newry in Co Down and shot.
Bass player Mr Travers had only joined the band six weeks earlier. He tells how the “soldiers” fitted a bomb underneath the van which detonated early.
The blast and subsequent shootings left three band members dead: Brian McCoy, Tony Geraghty and lead singer Fran O’Toole, who was shot 22 times at close range.
Mr Travers believes the band was deliberately targeted due to its popularity among Irish nationalists.
He claimed the killings were masterminded by the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force’s brigadier Robin “the Jackal” Jackson, working closely with British intelligence services. At least four of the gunmen were soldiers from the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).
The shady Glennane Gang, a secret informal alliance of loyalists who carried out killings of Catholics and nationalists, have been implicated in the killings. Members are thought to have acted as double agents for British military intelligence.
“We were targeted because the British wanted our government to seal the border so that the IRA wouldn’t be able to cross easily into the relative safety of the south after committing some sort of atrocity,” Mr Travers told the Belfast Telegraph.
He said the band would have been branded terrorists, with guns planted in the van, had the bomb not exploded early.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s historical inquiries team, which was disbanded in 2014, confirmed Mr Jackson’s involvement in the killings.
His fingerprints were found on a pistol used in the attack. But British army officer Robert Nairac was cleared of involvement.
Mr Travers, however, remains sceptical of the team’s findings, “because they were answerable to the British government.”
Nearly 50 years after the slaughter he hopes the new film will open the door to investigations into the killings.
“I’m not going to go away. I’m looking for the truth,” he said.
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