Northern Ireland

Lisnaskea woman speaks of three brothers killed by IRA

Pam Morrison
Image caption Pam Morrison is now the only surviving member of her family

A woman whose three brothers were killed by the IRA has spoken for the first time of how their deaths were a "complete disaster" for her family.

Ronnie, Cecil and Jimmy Graham were all shot dead in separate attacks in County Fermanagh in the 1980s.

They were all part-time members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).

Pam Morrison is the only surviving member of their family and told BBC News NI about the effect of their deaths on the Lisnaskea family.

The UDR was an infantry regiment of the the British Army, created in 1970.

Ambushed while off duty

The Grahams first encountered tragedy in 1979 when Pam's 27-year-old sister Hilary - also a UDR member - died years after being hit by a car while manning a checkpoint.

Within six years, three other members of the family were shot dead by the IRA.

All three were off duty when they were attacked.

In June 1981, Lance Corporal Ronnie Graham, 39, was killed when he was ambushed while delivering groceries for a local shop.

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Media captionLisnaskea woman speaks of three brothers killed by IRA

He was married and had two children.

Five months later, another brother Pte Cecil Graham, 32, died two days after he was shot as he visited the family home of his wife and five-week-old son.

In 1985, Pte Jimmy Graham, 39, was killed while driving a school bus in Derrylin.

He was married and had two children, aged 11 and 15.

'Lonely without them'

None of the people who carried out the killings have been convicted.

Mrs Morrison said it was lonely being the only family member left.

Image copyright Graham family
Image caption Hilary Graham was the first of four Graham siblings to die after she was hit by a car

"You didn't know where to turn, who to talk to or anything else," she said.

"It was... really devastating for the family and to their wives and to the youngsters that they left behind."

Ms Morrison remembers the deaths "as if they happened yesterday" and her father was left a "heartbroken man".

"That memory is always with you and the older you get the more you want your family.

Explaining why her family never spoke publicly about the killings, she said: "I just kept it all to myself.

"You kept going on from day to day and that was it."

Image caption The deaths of her siblings were devastating for the Graham family, says Pam

She finally decided to speak about her family's loss because she was its last surviving member.

"Who else is going to remember them unless I say something about it," she said.

'I never understood why'

The conflict in Northern Ireland - known as the Troubles - lasted for 30 years and about 3,600 people were killed while thousands more were injured.

The majority of the violence was carried out by republican and loyalist paramilitaries.

The security forces were responsible for about 10% of the 3,500-plus deaths.

While Mrs Morrison said all of those who had lost loved ones during the Troubles deserved justice, she seemed resigned to the feeling that no-one would ever face trial for her brothers' murders.

"It's your faith that carries you through that and you don't want the like of that to happen [to] any other family," she said.

"Retaliation is not going to be any good to anyone - it's just going to leave more hurt in the community."

Mrs Morrison also said she still wonders why her family were targeted.

"I just could never understand why it was the one family that was targeted so much."

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