Northern Ireland

Mother of LVF victim understands father's inquiry call

Michael McGoldrick
Image caption Bridie McGoldrick's son, Michael was shot dead by the LVF in July 1996

The mother of a Catholic taxi-driver murdered by the LVF in County Armagh says she understands why Billy Wright's father pressed for an inquiry into his son's killing.

Billy Wright, who was leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), was shot dead by INLA prisoners in the Maze prison in December 1997.

Michael McGoldrick, 31, was shot dead near Lurgan in July 1996.

He was murdered days after graduating from Queen's university.

Clifford McKeown, 47, was sentenced to 24 years in jail in 2003 for his murder.

Mrs McGoldrick said her whole world went into "blackness" after her son's killing.

"I was in shock and I wouldn't have known what anyone was saying to me. I just couldn't think why would anyone hurt my child?"

A report into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Billy Wright is due to be published on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of its publication Mrs McGoldrick said in the days after her son's death, she and her husband, Michael McGoldrick Snr considered taking their own lives.

'Blackness'

"We never thought about Sadie, Michael's wife, never thought about our granddaughter who was only seven. We certainly never thought about the baby that was coming.

"It was just blackness, there was nothing left and we sat planning to take our own lives, at that time we were asking God for help.

"On the Thursday when Michael was buried, his father gave a message to the press that we forgave those who did it and the only thing we asked was that they don't do it again.

"When we look back on it now, we didn't personally forgive, God gave us the grace, he is the forgiver," she said.

Image caption Clifford McKeown was jailed for 24 years in 2003 for killing Michael McGoldrick

Mrs McGoldrick said her son was in the "wrong place at the wrong time".

"He was out taxiing and he got the call and it so happened that Michael answered it.

"He wasn't specifically targeted but knowing the firm that he worked for people would assume he was a Catholic and that's the reason Michael died."

Mrs McGoldrick said she had never been concerned for her son's safety.

"What was going on in Northern Ireland had nothing to do with us, nobody was going to touch us, we didn't harm anybody.

'Loyalist killing'

"Never in a million years did I ever think they would hurt him.

"It was known that it was definitely a loyalist killing , Michael had nothing to do with anybody, he wasn't involved in anything," she added.

Mrs McGoldrick said she had heard about Billy Wright but it didn't "really mean anything to us".

"I don't know what made him hate so much, I don't know why or what happened in his life that made him bitter.

"The sad thing is, if they had known my son, they just wouldn't have hurt him.

Mrs McGoldrick said she understands why Billy Wright's father wanted an inquiry but said it was time to move on.

"I think Mr Wright had every right to demand why and how his son was murdered when he was in, when it should have been the safest place on earth, in a prison.

"I don't think that it's right the amount of money that was spent on this. Why? We're in a situation where we're cutting back on education, hospitals.

"I would love to put my arms around Mr Wright and say it's not going to change, your son is dead.

"I think it's time we drew a line and let our children and the young people live in peace," she said.