RELATIVES FOR JUSTICE has issued a witness appeal in the case of two Cumann na mBan members shot dead by the British Army in 1971.

Mother-of-four Maura Meehan (30) died alongside her sister Dorothy Maguire (19) when soldiers opened fire on a car in which they were passengers in Cape Street in the Lower Falls area on 23 October 1971.

Forensic reports from the time claimed Ms Meehan had lead on both hands “consistent with discharge residues due to firing a weapon”. However, a report compiled by Relatives for Justice casts serious doubt on these claims. 

On hearing the shooting, residents gathered at the junction of Cape Street and Ross Street junction only to be also fired on by soldiers using rubber bullets. A rubber bullet was also retrieved from the car, having been fired into it afterwards. It is believed that charge to fire the rubber bullet would have contributed towards lead residue within the car. 

The forensic tests were carried out a member of the RUC on October 23 and not presented until October 25. 

Last year, then Attorney General John Larkin refused the family’s request to order a new inquest into the killings.

Ms Meehan's daughter Margaret Kennedy, who was nine when her mother was killed, has since launched legal action against the current Attorney General, Brenda King, following the decision to refuse a new inquest.

Relatives for Justice (RFJ) case worker Paul Butler has asked anyone who may have witnessed the killings to come forward as the family prepared to take civil proceedings against the Ministry of Defence. 

Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Ms Kennedy said: "We were kids when my mummy was killed, but I'm stuck in 1971 in my head. I've had my own kids and grandkids, but I'm still back in 1971. I still sit and think, what could I have done better? Why are they afraid to open this can of worms and admit they were wrong?

"Do they think that by leaving it this long that families are going to get fed up because they physically and mentally can't cope any more? That is how I have felt on numerous occasions. The mental state you get yourself into, the depression, everything and you think, why am I doing this to myself?. But then you think, they can't get away with it. They have to admit that they were wrong in what they did."

She added: "Maybe someone will see this appeal and remember something - should it be something silly, it could be major to the case."

Mr Butler added: "There has never been a proper and effective investigation into the deaths of Maura and Dorothy at the hands of the British Army. The forthcoming civil proceedings being taken by the family against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will be an opportunity to establish the truth into how they were tragically killed."

Anyone who has information about the killings is urged to contact Paul Butler at RFJ 02890 627171 or  by email to