August 11th, 1976


FROM THE ARCHIVES:The Women for Peace movement was founded in Belfast after the three young children of Anne Maguire were killed by a runaway car whose IRA driver was shot by British army pursuers. Niall Kiely reported on the initial incident. – JOE JOYCE

A SHOOTING incident in west Belfast yesterday ended in tragedy when a hijacked car – with a British Army Land Rover pursuing and firing at it – swerved out of control, crushing a young mother and three of her children against nearby iron railings. A four-week-old baby boy and his sister, aged eight, died instantly.

The driver of the car, Mr. Daniel Lennon, from Bernagh Drive, in Andersonstown, was also killed. The passenger, who lived in Turf Lodge, received leg and abdomen wounds, but his condition last night was not thought to be serious.

Mrs. Anne McGuire [sic] (31), the mother of the dead children, was very seriously injured and her two-and-a-half-year-old son, John, was also badly hurt . Her sister, Mrs. Pat O’Connor, who was walking just behind the McGuires with several of her own children, narrowly escaped being struck by the vehicle. The dead children were Andrew, the baby, and Joanna.

The incident in which the two children were killed had its beginnings early yesterday morning when a light-blue Cortina was hijacked from the Moneen Garage at the corner of Finaghy Road North and the Andersonstown Road. The garage is located some 150 yards from where the car crashed several hours later.

Shortly before 2.30 p.m., shots were exchanged in Rossnareen Avenue between three gunmen and a foot patrol of the King’s Own Border Regiment. After a brief exchange of fire, the Army said later, three men were seen to run up Rossnareen Avenue, the other two made off in the Cortina. The car drove down Shaw’s Road.

Two Army Land Rovers were sent out from Glassmullen to operate a pincers movement on the Cortina. The first drove down Shaw’s Road, the other cut across the housing estate to reach the bottom of Shaw’s Road. As the latter vehicle came out of Killeen Park, the Cortina passed. An Army statement issued last night said that one of the men aimed a weapon at the patrol in the Land Rover, and four shots were fired by soldiers. As they pursued the Cortina down Andersonstown Road, they fired three more shots before the car turned down Finaghy Road North.

The Cortina sped down the hill, but after 150 yards it swerved violently to the right-hand side of the road, mounting the footpath and crushing Mrs. McGuire and her three children against the railings of St. John the Baptist Primary School.

The commanding officer of the regiment said later: “One gunman got out of the car with his Armalite and a soldier fired one shot at him.” Last night Army headquarters in Lisburn stated that they believed both men had been wounded in the first burst of fire from Killeen Park.

Troops quickly surrounded the scene.