Cecil never got over Philly’s murder

Phillip Allen was shot dead by loyalist gunman in Poyntzpass along with his friend Damien Trainor as they sat together drinking in the Railway Bar in 1998.
Phillip Allen was shot dead by loyalist gunman in Poyntzpass along with his friend Damien Trainor as they sat together drinking in the Railway Bar in 1998.

THE father of one of the two Poyntzpass murder victims has been remembered lovingly, following his sudden death last week.

Cecil Allen, father to 34-year-old Philip who was shot dead by loyalists in 1998, passed away in Daisy Hill Hospital after falling ill with pneumonia two days before. The 69-year-old father-of-five had recovered from throat and mouth cancer four years ago.

Philip (pictured) and his best friend Damian Trainor were in the Railway Bar in the village in March 1998 when they were gunned down by masked LVF men. Philip, a Protestant, had asked Damian, a Catholic, to be best man at his wedding. They were shot dead as they lay on the floor of the pub.

Cecil’s illness was something his wife Ethel said she thinks could have been caused by the shocking and tragic death of their son Philip.

“Cecil never went for counselling after Philly died,” said Ethel, who celebrated her fiftieth wedding anniversary with her husband last December.

“I think he would have needed that. I needed it and it really helped me. When he had the surgery to remove the tumour the surgeon told us that something like the shock of Philly’s death could have made him ill.”

Cecil underwent radiotherapy following the surgery and had recovered physically, but Ethel said her husband never really got over their son’s murder.

“Cecil always blamed that (the tragic death) on his ill health, “ she said. “He was a quiet, reserved man. He didn’t like a fuss. That’s the way I will remember him.”

A huge crowd turned out at Poyntzpass Presbyterian Church to pay tribute to Cecil, who was then buried alongside his beloved son.

Cecil’s death follows the passing of Damian’s father Sean in July last year.

Banbridge man Stephen McClean, who was convicted of the murders, was released from prison in 2010, after serving 12 years of a life sentence.

Speaking at the time of McClean’s release, Ethel said her family had been given a life sentence of their own.

“Whether it’s sectarian or not you imagine when somebody gets life in prison that should mean life,” she said. “That’s the hardest part. All of my family will suffer with this until they die.”