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Documentary Murder of a GAA Chairman' sheds light on the unanswered questions of the family of Sean Brown

19/04/2024

Documentary Murder of a GAA Chairman sheds light on the unanswered questions of the family of Sean Brown as date for enactment of Troubles Legacy Act approaches

RT One and RT Player, Monday, April 22nd at 9:35pm

On May 12th, 1997, in a small rural village in South Derry, Sean Brown, the esteemed chairman of Bellaghy Wolfe Tones GAA Club, fell victim to a brutal act of violence that shook the foundation of the community. At 11:25pm, Sean Brown was ambushed by members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) as he locked up the gates to the training ground. He was abducted, beaten, and shot six times in the head. He was found next to his burning car the following morning in Randalstown, Co. Antrim. The perpetrators fled the scene, leaving behind a trail of devastation that would scar a community for decades to come.

Within two days of Sean Brown's murder, the RUC said the LVF was responsible, but almost three decades later, no one has been charged.

The passage of the Troubles Legacy Act', which becomes law on May 1st, has drawn widespread condemnation from victims' families, and opposition from the Irish Government, the European Union, the United Nations, and all the main political parties in the North.

Aspects of the laws include a limited form of immunity from prosecution for Troubles-related offences for those who co-operate with the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR).

As the deadline for the Troubles Legacy Act' looms, Murder of a GAA Chairman chronicles the Brown family's journey as they seek redress for the injustice of the murder of father, husband and grandfather, Sean Brown.

On April 11th, the UK government announced it is taking legal action over the inquest into Sean Brown's death. Despite a coroner's request for a public inquiry into Sean's death, the UK government has chosen to challenge the decision by the Coroner to disclose to the family that intelligence had identified 25 suspects in the murder and that several of those suspects were State Agents.

Sean's death sent shockwaves throughout every GAA club in Ireland. A childhood friend, Seamus Heaney was heartbroken . Upon hearing the news, he sent a fax to the Irish News to make plain Sean Brown's goodwill and integrity . Only one year earlier, Heaney had shared a stage with Sean at a cross-community event Brown had organised at the club to celebrate the poet's Nobel Prize win.

Nearly three decades later, the wounds inflicted by Sean's untimely death remain unhealed. Despite the decades long campaign by Sean's family, no one has been brought to account for this crime, however failings in the police investigation have been exposed. Murder of a GAA Chairman examines the investigation into Sean Brown's murder and looks at how the Brown family has been left grappling with unanswered questions.

Watch Murder of a GAA Chairman, Monday, 22nd April at 9:35pm on RT One and RT Player.
LINK: https://about.rte.ie/2024/04/19/documentary-murder-of-a-gaa-chairman-s...
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