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crime world Episode 59: The most brutal 24-hour period in the North's troubled past

Forty five years ago this week, unprecedented slaughter visited a small corner of south Armagh and left its mark forever on both the landscape and the lives of those left behind

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Nicola Tallant, Sunday World investigations editor

Nicola Tallant, Sunday World investigations editor

Nicola Tallant, Sunday World investigations editor

In Northern Ireland’s troubled past there have been hundreds of atrocities and thousands of lives lost - but one 24-hour period stands out as the most brutal of all.

Forty five years ago this week, unprecedented slaughter visited a small corner of south Armagh and left its mark forever on both the landscape and the lives of those left behind.

First, was the brutal murder of the Catholic Reavey brothers, John Martin and Brian, just 24 and 22-years-old when they were gunned down in their family home.

Their 17-year-old brother, Anthony, catastrophically injured in the ambush, would die weeks later. The attack was carried out by the notorious 'Glennanne Gang', made up of rogue police and army officers working in collusion with loyalist terrorists in a sick bid to ethnically cleanse the catholic population.
Twenty minutes after the ambush, in a co-ordinated attack, three members of the O’Dowd family were slaughtered in their home in nearby County Down by a UVF hit team.

But that wasn’t the end of the killings. Within 24 hours of the murders, a suspected IRA terror mob carried out the shocking Kingsmill massacre of 10 innocent protestant textile workers and one more who miraculously survived.

So what is the legacy of such appalling events and after four-and-a-half decades is the British government's plans for a Troubles amnesty a line in the sand or an outrage to those still seeking justice?

Nicola Tallant and Sunday World colleague Hugh Jordan visit peace campaigner Eugene Reavey, as he recalls the dreadful events that visited his life and they consider the stark reality that some scars will never heal.

Crime Word Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Soundcloud.

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