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The 1994 Shankill Road killings
Part of the Troubles
Date16 June 1994
LocationShankill Road, Belfast
Result Successful INLA ambush and getaway
Belligerents
StarryPlough.svg Irish National Liberation Army Flag of the Ulster Volunteer Force.svg UVF
Commanders and leaders
StarryPlough.svg Gino Gallagher Flag of the Ulster Volunteer Force.svg Trevor King
Strength
3-4 volunteers 3 volunteers
Casualties and losses
none 3 killed


The 1994 Shankill Road killings took place on 16 June 1994. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) shot dead three Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) members – high-ranking member Trevor King, Colin Craig and David Hamilton – on the Shankill Road in Belfast, close to the UVF HQ. The following day, the UVF launched two 'retaliatory' attacks. In the first, UVF members shot dead a Catholic civilian taxi driver in Carrickfergus. In the second, they shot dead two Protestant civilians in Newtownabbey, whom they believed were Catholics. The Loughinisland massacre, a day later, is believed to have been a further retaliation.

Background[edit | edit source]

In the months leading up to the 1994 Provisional IRA and Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) ceasefires, there was a brief return to the tit-for-tat killings of the mid-1970s and there had been a number of these attacks which resulted in paramilitary as well as civilian deaths. In May the UVF shot and killed a volunteer of the IRA's Dublin Brigade, Martin Doherty after he thwarted a bomb attack at a pub in Dublin's Pearse Street. At the start of June, a leading loyalist paramilitary was injured in an IRA bomb attack in Portadown.

Shootings[edit | edit source]

Trevor King mural, Disraeli Street, May 2012

On 16 June 1994, high ranking UVF Volunteer Trevor King was standing on the corner of the Shankill Road and Spier's Place talking to fellow UVF members, David Hamilton (43) and Colin Craig (31). They were about one hundred yards away from the UVF headquarters, which was located in rooms above a shop known as "The Eagle". A car drove past them and as it did so, Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) gunmen inside the vehicle opened fire on the three men. David Lister and Hugh Jordan claimed that Gino Gallagher, who was himself shot dead in 1996 during an internal dispute, was the main INLA gunman in the attack. Colin Craig was killed on the spot. King and David Hamilton lay in the street, seriously wounded as panic and chaos erupted on the Shankill in the wake of the shooting. Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Roy Magee was in "the Eagle" discussing an upcoming Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) meeting and the possibility of a loyalist ceasefire with the UVF Brigade Staff (leadership) when the attack took place. He and the others raced out of the building after hearing the gunfire. He later described the scene he came upon outside.

"With some others, I ran down to where the men were. One was already dead and the others were in a very, very bad physical state. The road was in pandemonium at that stage. You could see that the leadership of the UVF was quite naturally very, very broken and disturbed about the shooting of their colleague. He [Trevor King] was a senior commander".

King was rushed to hospital where he was put on a life-support machine. The shooting had left him paralysed from the neck down. He died on 9 July with Reverend Magee at his bedside. According to Magee, King himself made the decision to turn off the machine.

The killings were a blow for the peace process and a morale boost for the INLA in the short run. The attack was the INLA's most notorious since the Droppin Well bombing in 1982.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

File:Gino Gallagher.jpg

INLA Chief of Staff Gino Gallagher at the time of the shootings

The tit for tat attacks continued on and off for the spring and summer of 1994 until the historic Provisional IRA ceasefire of 31 August 1994 and the ceasefires of the UDA, UVF and RHC followed in October when the Combined Loyalist Military Command announced a Loyalist ceasefire. In 1996 Billy Wright formed a breakaway group from the UVF called Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF). There was offensive action from the INLA even tho they were supposed to be a defensive ceasefire with such acts as the shooting dead of UDA leader Jim Guiney, the shoting dead of an ex-RUC officer and planting and exploding a 200 lb car bomb in the centre of Newtownhamilton. The group issued a 50-minute warning about the bomb but six people were injured. The UDA who's leadership is close with the LVF carried out attacks also using the LVF name for responsibility. An internal feud in the Irish National Liberation Army in 1996 left 6 people dead including Gino Gallagher and almost destroyed the organization but it barely survived and the INLA would go on to kill one of their most famous victims inside the Maze Prison Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright. The Group would call a ceasefire shortly after the Omagh bombing carried out by Volunteers of the Real IRA the high number of victims shocked even die-hard Republicans. Loyalists to would enter into a dead feud between the UVF and UDA which resulted in death of many famous Loyalists like John Gregg who nearly killed Gerry Adams in 1984.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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