Springhill Inquest: Paddy Butler’s son gives harrowing testimony

The son of Paddy Butler one of the victims of the Springhill massacre took the stand at today’s hearing of the Springhill inquest. Patrick Butler told the inquest that his mother went to her grave never knowing the truth about what happened to his father that night. He was only 13 years old when his father was killed by the British army. In emotional and harrowing testimony Patrick said,

“All my father was doing that night was trying to help his neighbors. We couldn’t open the coffin due to my father’s facial injuries. We never got any of his clothes back and all he had was 50 pence in his pocket that night. My mother was left to raise six children on her own.” 

Patrick Butler said he was playing handball in the street when he saw Martin Dudley getting into a car outside his house with other people and driving off. He continued: “Another car came in the opposition direction and both cars stopped, as they were talking shooting started.  The shooting seemed to be coming from Corry’s Timberyard where the British army were based. Martin Dudley’s car stopped in the middle of the road, and I saw him fall out of the driver’s side of the car onto the road where he had been shot.

“My father came out of the house and was discussing with others how they could get to Martin Dudley. Father Fitzpatrick was also present, and he and my father were both shot dead as they attempted to give assistance to Martin Dudley.  Father Donnelly arrived at midnight to tell my mum that my father was dead.”

Counsel for the MoD Joseph Aiken questioned Patrick Butler about whether the people he saw in the car were armed.  Patrick Butler said he didn’t see anyone in the car that was armed. He  was also asked whether he knew if Martin Dudley was a member of any illegal organization. He said he had no knowledge whether he or anyone else was in any illegal organizations.

Concluding his evidence Patrick Butler said his family had a long association of serving in the British army including members who had fought in World War I and II.

The inquest resumes on Monday 20th November 2023