The Troubles in Ballymena

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The Northern Irish Troubles resulted in 11 deaths in or near the mainly Protestant County Antrim town of Ballymena. Eight people were killed by various loyalist groups, and three by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Two of the IRA victims were members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary; all other victims were civilians. Of the eleven victims, six were Protestants and five were Catholics. Some of those killings are reflected below:

1974: Sean and Brendan Byrne, aged 54 and 45, Catholics and brothers, were shot by the UDA at their public house in Tannaghmore outside Ballymena on 24 May 1976. The pub had stayed open during the Ulster Workers Council strike.The gunmen had arrived to the pub in a convoy with a busload of other loyalists. All 30 men were detained at a police road block. Two were later sentenced to life imprisonment.[1]

1976: A Protestant woman Yvonne Dunlop, aged 27, was killed as the result of an IRA firebomb in the shop where she worked on Bridge Street on 9 October 1976. Among those jailed for the attack was PIRA member and Thomas McElwee, who died on hunger strike in 1981.[2] Later that same day, a 40-year-old Catholic man, Sean McCrystal was killed in retaliation by the UVF. His burning body was found on waste ground on North Street close to Bridge Street.[3]

1978: John Lamont, a 21-year-old Protestant and RUC reserve member, was shot by the IRA in George Street while he was on duty by himself. He was the first member of the security forces to be killed in Ballymena.[4]

1987 Norman Kennedy, a 41-year-old Protestant and RUC officer, was shot dead at his home in Murob Park by the IRA on 26 July 1987.[5]


  1. ^ McKittrick et al Lost Lives, pp. 454-55
  2. ^ McKittrick et al Lost Lives, p. 679
  3. ^ McKittrick et al Lost Lives pg 680
  4. ^ McKittrick et al Lost Lives, pg 764
  5. ^ McKittrick et al Lost Lives, pp. 1087-88