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Memorial to Miami Showband unveiled

10th Dec 2007. An Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern TD, today unveiled a memorial to the three members of the Miami Showband who were killed outside Newry, Co. Down in 1975. The band members were murdered by a loyalist gang which included serving members of the UDR.

The memorial, by Donegal sculptor Redmond Herrity, was unveiled at the site of the old National Ballroom in Parnell Square in Dublin, where the band regularly played.

Among the hundreds in attendance at the ceremony were: survivors of the attack, Stephen Travers and Des McAlea; and band member Ray Millar, who was not travelling with band at the time of the muders. Family and relatives of McCoy, Geraghty and O'Toole - some of whom travelled from abroad - also attended.

Geraghty (24), O'Toole (28) and McCoy (32) were killed after their minibus was stopped at a roadblock by the now disbanded British Army Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).

The band members, who were on their way to Dublin after playing in Banbridge, Co Down, were told to get out of the vehicle and line up on the side of the road.

Two UVF members, who were also serving members of the UDR, Harris Boyle and Wesley Somerville, secretly attempted to plant a bomb on the minibus but it blew up killing them both.

Three members of the band were then shot dead by the UDA men, who were also UVF members. Travers and McAlea were injured in the attack for which James Somerville, Thomas Crozier and Rodney McDowell recieved life sentences.

Responding to questions about the British government's failure to order a public inquiry into the incident, survivor Steve Travers said: "They must stop stonewalling all the mountains of evidence that says there was collusion.

"I don't even need any of this evidence. I was there. I saw the British army officer in control on that night. He wasn't that worried about hiding his identity because he thought we'd be dead in 20 minutes."

In his speech at the ceremony, the Taoiseach noted that the suffering of the families is "sharpened by the clear evidence of collusion by the security forces in many of these murders, as has been made clear by several reports over the years."

"I know the quest for answers continues and I reiterate the Government's support for the families in that quest" he added.

He again committed to a "full debate in the Dáil at the beginning of the new session in early February."

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