Terry wasn't a player, but they killed him anyway

The toll rises. Ros Wynne-Jones visits a Belfast family in mourning

Ros Wynne-Jones
Saturday 22 October 2011 21:56

TERRY ENRIGHT was not a "player" - a member of a paramilitary group in Northern Ireland - or closely involved in sectarian politics. He was a 28-year-old father of two daughters who worked with a cross- community charity supporting young people, and he took on extra work as a doorman at a Belfast nightclub to pay for a new kitchen for his family.

Mr Enright, shot dead at that nightclub two weeks ago, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when the Ulster Volunteer Force decided to kill another Catholic - the third of seven murdered since Christmas in the Province, when the founder of the Loyalist Volunteer Force was killed by the INLA inside the Maze prison.

And yesterday, as the sixth of the seven Catholics killed since Christmas was buried, feelings of despair among Belfast Catholics were hardening to anger.

At the funeral mass for Ben Hughes, the 55-year-old shot on Wednesday by the South Belfast UDA, the Bishop of Down and Connor, the Most Reverend Patrick Walsh, told the packed congregation of hundreds that "Anti-Catholic hatred and bitterness" had been responsible for Mr Hughes's death. "And those who feed impressionable minds with such invective stand equally guilty of Ben's murder and so many other murders," he said.

At the service, at St Michael's Church, Andersonstown, south Belfast, Father Sean McCartney said he had noted "the change of mood among parishers this week," as the Catholic death toll rose. "On Wednesday evening and Thursday, the feeling was of fear, anxiety... yesterday, I noted a more determined mood - we will not be discouraged."

The chilling irony of Terry Enright's death is that although he worked with both communities, trying to repair the toll the Troubles have taken on the children of west Belfast, his death was located through coincidence at the heart of Ulster politics.

He was married to a niece of the Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, although both sides accept his was a random murder, and the nightclub where he received his fatal wounds was owned by the sister-in-law of David Ervine, the loyalist leader. Such is the web of sectarian connections in Northern Ireland.

At his parents' house on Friday, the air was heavy with news of the shooting the previous night of another Catholic father of two, followed by reports that the Ulster Freedom Fighters, which has been connected to several shootings in recent weeks, had decided to lay down arms.

"You always hear people on the news saying: 'If this is the last killing, then the death of my child hasn't been in vain'," said his mother, Mary, weeping as she heard that the UFF had called a halt to the violence. "I try to think like that, really I do. But it's hard to see where it will all end."

The Enrights are still frozen with grief at the loss of their son, born in 1969 as the Troubles began, and too afraid of disappointment to take much comfort in the extraordinary response of the local community to his death.

His funeral saw 6,000 mourners from all sides gather to remember him in the biggest funeral procession since thehunger strikes, 17 years ago.

It was a boost to the nationalist communities of Belfast,increasingly silent and fearful since the spate of killing began at Christmas.

"Everyone is looking over their shoulders," said Mr Enright's father, also called Terry, and who also works with both sections of the west Belfast community.

Mrs Enright cries, then a curious thing happens. There is a knock on the front door and a delegation from the Progressive Unionist Party, led by Billy Hutchinson, who knows the Enrights through the family's community work, walks in to offer sympathy. By the time they leave, tension has been replaced by good humour.

Half an hour after leaving the Enrights, Hutchinson is framed by television lights. He is speaking as a representative of the Loyalist community. Another Catholic, who had been digging a road in the staunch Protestant Ardoyne area of north Belfast, has been shot. A group of teenage Protestants, who had run in to the street at the sound of gunshots, are shouting that the killing is "justice" for concessions given to Republicans. Then, one of them says: "My dad was killed like that, doing an honest day's work. I'm sorry for the family."

On the other end of the phone, the Enrights are quiet once more. The road digger, Liam Conway, 39, is dead. "It's terrible sad," says Mr Enright. He is very tired. "It's been such a very long day."

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