Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1981, Private Jack Donnelly, D Company, the Ulster Defence Regiment, was killed while off-duty in Northern Ireland.
He was a part-time member of the regiment, and had joined up at its inception. A year and a day earlier he had been awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.
On the day of his death, Private Donnelly had visited his local pub, Hughes’ Bar in Moy, County Tyrone, and ordered his usual pint. Two INLA gunmen, who had been sitting outside in the carpark, aware of Private Donnelly’s habits, burst into the pub and shot him several times in the head. M.P. Harold McCusker commented afterwards that the killers were probably workmates or neighbours.
His killing came a few days after the election of Bobby Sands as M.P. for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. The Reverend Ian Paisley said after Private Donnelly’s death that “The 30,000 votes had made the IRA feel they have a mandate to go ahead with a campaign of Protestant genocide”. The IRA denied any involvement in the murder.
Jack, from Gorestown, County Tyrone, was 56 years old.