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Mary O'Hare, with her son Michael, O'Hare at Hillsborough Castle after they received a apology from the Ministry of Defence following the death of her daughter shot dead by the British Army. PA Wire via PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

O'Hare family welcome apology from British Government over Majella's death

Letter from Britain’s Ministry of Defence apologises to the family of Majella O’Hare, who was shot in the back at the age of 12 by a British paratrooper.

THE FAMILY OF a schoolgirl who was shot dead by a British soldier almost 35 years ago have welcomed an apology from the Ministry of Defence.

Majella O’Hare was just 12 years old when she was shot in the back while passing an army checkpoint in 1976. Yesterday, her family welcomed an apology from the British Ministry of Defence, who sent a letter of apology to her mother, 88 year old Mary O’Hare.

The young girl’s brother, Michael O’Hare, said that the family accept that “closure never happens in a case like this”, RTE reports today.

Majella was found by her father on 14 August 1976 after she was shot while walking with a group of children on their way to confession in a local church. He heard the shots being fired and ran to the checkpoint, where he discovered his daughter.

She was airlifted to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry but died on the journey.

Paratrooper Michael Williams, the soldier who killed her, was acquitted of manslaughter charges. The Irish Times reports that there will be no new criminal case brought against Williams in relation to the shooting.

The letter to Mary O’Hare states that, though the British army said in 1976 that Williams had fired in response to an attack by an IRA gunman, a recent review of the case showed that it was unlikely there was a gunman in the area at the time Majella was killed.

Mrs O’Hare told the Irish News today that nothing would bring her daughter back.

This is only the second time that an apology has been given for an incident involving the British army during the Troubles.

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