Sinn Féin leader calls for public inquiry into 1991 murder of Eddie Fullerton

Family pays tribute to Donegal councillor who was killed 30 years ago this month

Eddie Fullerton: the Donegal county councillor who was murdered by the UDA in 1991.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has called for an independent public inquiry into the murder of Eddie Fullerton in Buncrana, Co Donegal, in 1991.

Speaking in a video tribute aired on Friday to mark 30 years since Fullerton's death, Ms McDonald paid tribute to the former Donegal councillor who was shot dead at his home in Buncrana on May 25th, 1991, by members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Fullerton, who was the first Sinn Féin member to be elected to Donegal County Council in 1979, "embodied what it means to be a proud Irish republican activist and a dedicated united Irelander," said Ms McDonald. "Everything he did was about lifting people up and moving forward.

“He wanted a better future for his community, for his people and for his country,” she said. “He had a natural empathy for the struggles of ordinary people and he worked day and night to improve their lives. A man with a deep intellect and a sharp political instinct.”


Ms McDonald said her party reiterated the Fullerton family’s call for an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death, “in the name of truth and justice”.

She also paid tribute to his “biggest achievement” – the Eddie Fullerton dam and reservoir in Inishowen.

Friday's video tribute also featured interviews with Fullerton's wife Dinah Fullerton, his daughter Amanda Fullerton and his sister Winnie Noone.

Alleged collusion

The Fullerton family and Sinn Féin have repeatedly called for an independent inquiry over the years into what they allege was collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and British security forces in the Donegal councillor’s death.

Ms Noone recalled how her brother was close to topping the polls in Donegal and said he was on track to become the first Sinn Féin TD from the county.

His wife Dinah described how happy Fullerton was the day of his death, when he arrived home with the news that the multimillion pound dam had been approved. “The people of his community meant so much to him,” she said.

Thirty years on from his death, Fullerton’s daughter Amanda said she felt optimistic about the future and that her family’s campaign for justice had “overcome boundaries”. “The timing is good, we’ve persisted,” she said. “We feel quite confident and resilient as a campaign entity to bring this to its conclusion.”

Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who also took part in the video tribute, described Fullerton as a “colourful and larger than life” person, who was “a champion for the rights of his own constituents”.

He noted that harassment towards Sinn Féin councillors was “routine” when Fullerton sat on the council and that there was an atmosphere of “fear and isolation”. Fullerton was “to the forefront of fighting that,” he said.

Former Fianna Fáil TD and leas-cheann comhairle Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher, who sat alongside Fullerton on Donegal's County Council, described the late councillor as a well-read and dedicated representative. "I always admired him, whatever about his politics," said Mr Gallagher. "When Eddie came into the council chamber he was interested in motions that were important to the people of Buncrana. He was a good public representative."

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast