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Dublin: 0°C Thursday 6 May 2021

'Cold case' investigations into the murders of two workmen reopened

John Devine and John O’Hara were killed by loyalists in the late 80s and early 90s.

Updated at 2pm

PSNI DETECTIVES HAVE reopened two sectarian murder cases after discovering potential new evidence.

John Joseph Gerard O’Hara and John Benedict Devine, both Catholic workmen, were killed by loyalists in Belfast in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The PSNI’s Legacy Investigation Branch, which was established last year to examine past killings, has appealed for anyone with information about the murders to come forward.

Capture John Devine Source: PSNI

O’Hara (41), a married father, was shot in the Dunluce Avenue area of South Belfast on 17 April 1991.

A temporary taxi driver, he had gone to the area at around 10.15pm to pick up a passenger when he was approached by two masked men who fired several shots at the vehicle, fatally injuring him.

Devine (37), also a married father, was shot dead in his home in the Fallswater Street area of West Belfast at approximately 2pm on 23 July 1989.

He had been sitting in his living room with his 13-year-old son when three men forced their way in and fired shots at him before escaping in a blue Vauxhall Cavalier taxi.

unnamed John O'Hara Source: PSNI

‘Callous murderers’

“Both these men were innocent Catholics who were murdered for no other reason than their religion,” Detective Inspector Neil McGuinness said.

Two families were left devastated; two wives lost their husband and their children lost their father at the hands of callous murderers.
As a result of information we have recently received, we believe we are now in a position to progress both these investigations.
However, we need the help of the public. I am appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time of either of the murders or anyone who has information in relation to the activities of loyalists in the area in the late 80s and early 90s to come forward.
Many years have now passed since these tragic events and no-one has ever been charged in relation to them.

Anyone with information has been asked to contact detectives on 101 or 028 9258 9140.

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Catherine Healy

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