Memorial service for members of Miami Showband killed by UVF


Three members of the Miami Showband, who were killed by the UVF 30 years ago, were remembered at a special prayer service in Dublin on Saturday.

Families of Fran O'Toole, Tony Geraghty and Brian McCoy gathered with friends at the Pro-Cathedral for a remembrance service which celebrated their work, on the 30th anniversary of the atrocity.

Dana Rosemary Scallon, the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest winner and former MEP, performed at the service and was accompanied by the Pro-Cathedral folk group. She sang hymns chosen by the families, Abide with Me, Here I Am and Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.

Dickie Rock, the band's former lead singer, also paid a musical tribute at the service.

Relatives participated in the prayers and readings at the inter-denominational service, which was conducted by Fr Brian D'Arcy and the Rev Robert Dean.

Two members of the band survived the attack, Stephen Travers and Des Lee.

Mr Travers, who organised the commemoration with the Justice for the Forgotten Group, attended the Pro-Cathedral with his daughter.

Mr Lee had travelled from South Africa to attend but had to leave on receiving news that his wife had been taken ill. Other members of his family attended.

Tonight a memorial concert will be held in Vicar Street. Artists appearing will include Brendan Bowyer, Tony Kenny, Red Hurley, Johnny Fean of Horslips and Paul Ashford.

Margaret Urwin of the Justice for the Forgotten Group, who attended the service, said one of the ideas mooted for the proceeds of the concert was a permanent memorial to the three musicians in Dublin.

The service was attended by many past and present showband musicians. Philomena Lynott, mother of the late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, also attended.

Ms Scallon described the service. "It was really beautiful and very emotional. It was organised to ensure that the boys are not forgotten."

The Miami Showband was one of the most popular bands in the 1970s. The three musicians were killed as they returned home from a performance at a dance in Banbridge, Co Down.

Their minibus was flagged down by men dressed in army uniforms on the road to Newry.

The UVF gang loaded a bomb on to the minibus but it exploded prematurely, killing two UVF members. The rest of the gang then opened fire on the musicians, killing the three band members.