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COLIN ABERNETHY was a founder member of the Ulster Clubs movement which came into being to oppose the Hillsborough Pact which had been signed by Margaret Thatcher and Garrett FitzGerald in November 1985. Colin was the treasurer of the movement.
He had been involved in organising protests against British and Irish colonial ministers in the greater Lisburn area. When two Sinn Féin members were elected to Lisburn council, Colin and the local Ulster Club organised a noisy protest outside the town hall in Hillsborough. This seems to have marked him out for attention by Sinn Féin's armed colleagues in the IRA.
On the morning on September 9th 1988, he was travelling to work as normal on the train from Lisburn to Belfast. A Provo death squad boarded the train at Lambeg, opening up on Colin as the train pulled into the Finaghy halt. The killers fled the train at the halt and made their escape into nearby Andersonstown in a waiting hijacked taxi. Nobody has ever faced trial for the murder of Colin Abernethy. The IRA were not content with murdering him. They also issued malicious statements attempting to justify his murder by claiming that he was involved in murders of Catholics. Nobody who knew him believed these vicious lies.
Colin was a supporter of Ulster independence. He was very interested in propaganda - particularly posters - to put across the Ulster case. He had been due to meet me and another member of the Ulster Clubs executive on the day after his murder to work on a calendar for 1989. The Ulster Clubs movement, such as it is, and his friends and relations still remember Colin Abernethy by laying wreaths at the cenotaph beside the Belfast City Hall.
A THIRD WAY FOR ULSTER
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