Commemoration to take place to mark 40th anniversary of killing of Strabane man

A commemoration will take place in Strabane tonight to mark the 40th anniversary of the killing of a local man by a member of the Royal Marine Commandos.

24 year old Eamon Mc Devitt, who was deaf and mute, was shot by a commando at Fountain Street in August 1971, with his family continuing a campaign to clear his name following an army claim that he was brandishing a gun and about to open fire.

His family say that is a lie, and he was gunned down in cold blood.

At 6pm this evening, Eamon Mc Devitt will be remembered in a ceremony at the spot where he was killed on Fountain Street. A plaque erected in his memory will be re-dedicated.

Sinn Fein Councillor Karina Carlin, one of the organisers of tonight's event, says there had been some minor stone throwing in the area following an earlier town centre protest about Internment which had been introduced just the previous week.  Eamon Mc Devitt was not involved, she says.

He was walking home from a friend's house, he was killed by a single shot fired by a British soldier.

It was later claimed by the British Army that he was brandishing a gun, a claim denied by 23 local eye witnesses. A priest who came to administer the Last Rights demanded to see the weapon that was alleged to have been branded by Eamon.  No such weapon was ever produced.

Cllr Carlin says tonight's commemoration will also reaffirm local support for the Mc Devitt family's ongoing campaign to clear Eamon’s name.