Richard Bell initially outlines the Bell family background, explaining that his maternal Nugent family came from Clonakilty, Co. Cork. His grandmother told him that she recalled a visit by a group of IRA men to their home during her childhood. They were searching for British Army soldiers who were home on leave. Their quest was unsuccessful and, having ordered the family out, they burnt down the house. Richard’s grandmother later worked as a cook for Lord Carbery at Castle Freke near her home, where she met her future husband, Fermanagh man Johnny Bell. The couple returned to his home to farm at Drumnquillia and they later acquired another farm at Derrydoon. Richard’s father, Sidney Bell, later inherited the farms. At the outbreak of the Troubles, Richard Bell aged 19, and his brother John Robert aged 21, joined the UDR. On 22 October 1972, while Sidney, Richard and John Robert Bell were driving to an out farm, they were ambushed by three members of the IRA. Thirty four bullets were fired into the car, killing John Robert Bell and wounding Sidney Bell. Richard maintains that the attack was carried out as a result of local intelligence being provided, though nobody was ever held accountable for the atrocity. He also makes the point that he has never been interviewed by investigating police, nor even seen a detective since the day of the inquest into his brother’s death. He explains that many Protestant families were forced to move from their homes during the Troubles, but that the Bell family remained, although the ensuing years were very difficult because suspicion of his family’s involvement in the murders of Andrew Murray and Michael Naan was widely held by the Nationalist community.
This collection, carried out by Irish Life and Lore on behalf of Cavan County Library Service, is funded by the EU Special EU Programmes Body Peace IV fund under the objective to build positive relations with people from different backgrounds and communities to support peace and reconciliation.
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