1994 Shankill Road killings

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1994 Shankill Road killings
Part of the Troubles
Date 16 June 1994
Location Shankill Road, Belfast
Result Successful INLA ambush and getaway
StarryPlough.svg Irish National Liberation Army Flag of the Ulster Volunteer Force.svg UVF
Commanders and leaders
Gino Gallagher Flag of the Ulster Volunteer Force.svg Trevor King 
4 volunteers 3 volunteers
Casualties and losses
none 3 killed

The 1994 Shankill Road killings took place on 16 June 1994. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) shot dead three Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) members – high-ranking member Trevor King, Colin Craig and David Hamilton – on the Shankill Road in Belfast, close to were the UVF had their HQ.The following day, the UVF launched two 'retaliatory' attacks. In the first, UVF members shot dead a Catholic civilian taxi driver in Carrickfergus. In the second, they shot dead two Protestant civilians in Newtownabbey, whom they believed were Catholics.[1] The Loughinisland massacre, two days later, is believed to have been a further retaliation.[2]


The UVF had been considering calling a ceasefire soon, which they believed would be from a position of strength. The Irish National Liberation Army had been in decline since the late 1980s after the feud with Irish People's Liberation Organization in which they lost of their best operators in Belfast 1987 had left them weak and largely inactive. But in 1992 the INLA had some what of a resurgent's in it's campaign. On 14 April 1992 a British Army (BA) recruiting sergeant Michael Newman (33) was shot dead by two INLA volunteers in Derby. [3][4] It was a significant incident as Newman was the first serving member of British Armed Forces to be killed by the INLA since 1984 when they shot dead UDR soldier Colin Houston.[5][6] It was also significant in that this was the first person the INLA had killed in England since the Airey Neave killing.[7] Two months later they struck in England again with two firebombs in stores in Leeds causing £50,000 worth of damage.[8] On the 14 January 1993 an INLA hit team drove around the Shankill road & the team fired rifle shots threw the window of the home of UVF leader John "Bunter" Graham & seriously injured him. It was a prelude to the 1994 June killings and the INLA was a force to be feared again. In June 1993 they killed retired RUC officer, John Patrick Murphy[9]


Trevor King mural, Disraeli Street, May 2012

On 16 June 1994, high-ranking UVF Commander volunteer Trevor King was standing on the Shankill Road not far from "The Eagle" (The Eagle was the UVF's Belfast GHQ) and he was talking to fellow UVF members, David Hamilton (43) and Colin Craig (31). They were about one hundred yards away from the UVF headquarters, which was located in rooms above a shop known as . A car drove past them and as it did so, Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) gunmen inside the vehicle opened fire on the three men. The car was later found burning close to Divis tower.[10] David Lister and Hugh Jordan claimed that Gino Gallagher, who was himself shot dead in 1996 during an internal dispute, was the main gunman in the attack. However, Henry McDonald and Jack Holland said that Gallagher was inside the car which was scouting the area for UVF members, and not one of the gunmen.[11] Colin Craig was killed on the spot. King and David Hamilton lay in the street, seriously wounded as panic and chaos erupted on the Shankill in the wake of the shooting.[12] Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Roy Magee was in "The Eagle" discussing an upcoming Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) meeting and the possibility of a loyalist ceasefire with the UVF Brigade Staff when the attack took place. He and the others raced out of the building after hearing the gunfire. He later described the scene he came upon outside.

"With some others, I ran down to where the men were. One was already dead and the others were in a very, very bad physical state. The road was in pandemonium at that stage. You could see that the leadership of the UVF was quite naturally very, very broken and disturbed about the shooting of their colleague. He [Trevor King] was a senior commander".

King was rushed to hospital where he was put on a life-support machine. The shooting had left him paralysed from the neck down. He died on 9 July with Reverend Magee at his bedside. According to Magee, King himself made the decision to turn off the machine.

The killings were a blow for the Northern Ireland peace process and a morale boost for the INLA. The attack was the INLA's most notorious since the Droppin Well bombing in 1982 which killed seventeen people, 11 British soldiers and 6 civilians.[13][14][15]


INLA Chief of Staff Gino Gallagher at the time of the shootings

The following day, the UVF launched two 'retaliatory' attacks. In the first, UVF members shot dead a Catholic civilian taxi driver in Carrickfergus. In the second, they shot dead two Protestant civilians in Newtownabbey, whom they believed were Catholics.[16] Two days after the killings the Ulster Volunteer Force decided to launch another revenge attack when they killed six Catholic civilians in a bar while they were watching the Ireland vs Italy 1994 World Cup game opener in what became known as Loughinisland massacre [17] The tit-for-tat attacks continued on and off for the spring and summer of 1994 until the Provisional IRA ceasefire of 31 August 1994 and the Combined Loyalist Military Command ceasefire in October. The attacks on the Shankill were the INLA's most deadliest attack of the 1990s.

When interviewed for Boston College for research on the conflict, Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine suggested the INLA might have been working in cahoots with the Provisional IRA in targeting prominent Loyalists, as the month after in July the Provisional IRA killed three leading UDA men. [18] [19] [20]

See also


  • Jack Holland, Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions'
  • CAIN project


  1. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=17&month=06&year=1994
  2. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=18&month=06&year=1994
  3. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-10723635
  4. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=14&month=04&year=1992
  5. ^ https://www.pressreader.com/ireland/the-irish-mail-on-sunday/20180121/282046212515926
  6. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald - INLA: Deadly Divisions p.363
  7. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald - INLA: Deadly Divisions p.360 - 366
  8. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/two-jailed-for-firebomb-campaign-court-told-security-cameras-recorded-inla-men-planting-incendiary-1508873.html
  9. ^ Jack Holland & Henry McDonald - INLA: Deadly Divisions p.366
  10. ^ McKittrick, David (2001). Lost Lives: The Stories of the Men, Women and Children who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Random House. 
  11. ^ McDonald & Holland, Henry & Jack (2016). INLA - Deadly Divisions. Poolbeg. 
  12. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch94.htm
  13. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=text&keyword=Droppin%20Well%20Bar
  14. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=6&month=12&year=1982
  15. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch82.htm
  16. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=17&month=06&year=1994
  17. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=18&month=06&year=1994
  18. ^ https://books.google.ie/books/about/Voices_from_the_Grave.html?id=Eh8Q2areX6oC
  19. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=31&month=07&year=1994
  20. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dyndeaths.pl?querytype=date&day=11&month=07&year=1994

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