Report: Fresh details emerge over brutal murder of Rory McIlroy's great uncle

Fresh details have emerged about the murder of Rory McIlroy's great uncle Jospeh, who was shot dead in a sectarian attack in 1972. 

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 1 Jun 2023
Report: Fresh details emerge over brutal murder of Rory McIlroy's great uncle

Secret intelligence files uncovered by The Irish News have revealed more details about the death of Rory McIlroy's great uncle. 

Joseph McIlroy was just 32 years old when he was shot dead in Orangefield, east Belfast on November 21, 1972. 

It was originally thought that Joseph was murdered by the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force), but the files show those responsible belonged to the UDA (Ulster Defence Association). 

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The Irish News report the killers were known as the Baker/McGreery gang, thought to be responsible for as many as 22 murders. 

Reports Connla Young:

"Police said Mr McIlroy, who was repairing a washing machine in the kitchen of his home at the time, was not involved in any political organisation and was killed simply because he was a Catholic.
"The innocent victim was a brother of Rory McIlroy's grandfather Jimmy."

Joseph's four children were upstairs asleep. His wife Mary discovered the victim and ran out into the streets, screaming. 

Click here to read the full report

Whilst it has been known for many years that Rory's great uncle was murdered, these details are brand new. 

Rory's home country of Northern Ireland has long been plagued by sectarian violence, most notably between 1969 and 1998 that came to be known as "The Troubles". 

Understandably, Rory has never wanted any part of that conflict and has stated in previous interviews he wanted to be known as an ambassador for the region. 

Rory represented Ireland at the 2020 Olympics, finishing fourth. "I've never tried so hard to finish third," he later said after just missing out on a medal. 

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Rory, born in 1990, spent the first eight years of his life in Holywood, a small town near Belfast, during "The Troubles". 

Famously, when McIlroy won his first ever PGA Tour event at 20 years old, he was asked if he considers himself more Irish or British. 

His response? "Pass. I'm Northern Irish, I hold a British passport, so there you go."

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