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 Corneilious “Quiet Man” Neeson

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Corneilious “Quiet Man” Neeson

  • Birth 1927 Northern Ireland
  • Death 1 Aug 1976 Ireland
  • Burial Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Memorial ID 52692991

Con Neeson was 49 years old when he was murdered in a sectarian attack on the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In life he was known as the ultimate "Quiet Man", long before John Wayne ever made the movie!

He was married to Jean and father of Margaret and Lillian.

He was a very small, fragile looking soul but had the energy and grace to become a champion ballroom dancer. He was softly spoken and gentle by nature, you'd never know he was around....thus the nickname the Quiet Man.

On the evening of August 1, 1976 he had just finished up calling the bingo numbers at the local parish hall. He was a well known Community Volunteer. There had been a "little bit of trouble" earlier in the evening with a man being shot dead in his girlfriends home near where Con lived.

As he left St. Patricks Church hall that night the priest said to him. "Con you better be careful....there's been trouble tonight. Would you not take a taxi home"?. Con replied "Not at all Father, sure I don't bother no one".

As he walked up the Cliftonville Road, Belfast heading home a young neighbour passed him by. "Hello, Mr. Neeson", he said, "I have to hurry on here". When he got into the house, he told his mother when he was passing the corner there were a few boys hanging there and he could swear he heard the sound of metal. He told her that Mr. Neeson was coming behind him. A man driving home noticed one of the killers running towards a black taxi and it taking off at speed. This caused him to think again and he returned to where he had seen the taxi to find my uncle steeped in his own blood. Within minutes the sirens could be heard and my uncle was taken to the Mater Hospital where he later died.

Around 3am I wakened to loud banging on our front door. It frightened me and woke my lttle sister who was also afraid. We knew if we woke our dad he would go out and investigate it. My mum was in Canada at the time visiting my sister and I was the oldest girl, left in charge of things. I knew it wasn't the army because they would already have busted the door in. At that time of the morning it could only be trouble and if we opened the door we might get shot. I prayed for my dad not to wake up.....he didn't and the knocking stopped and we heard the sound of footsteps go away.

As we all arose the next morning, my dad lifted the Irish News (Newspaper) from the hall floor. I had never heard my father in anquish before but his loud "Jesus Christ, that's our Con" left no mistake of something awful having happened. He went to a neighbours house to use the telephone and came back in shock when my aunt confirmed that Con had been murdered.

It was later determined that he was the victim of a gang known as "The Shankill Butchers" a group of Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) which is a Loyalist Gang, who's sole goal in life was to "Kill Taigs" (Catholics).

They used tools taken from the Abattoir, cattle guns, hatchets and knives to kill their victims of which there were 19. They were finally stopped when another victim Gerard Mclaverty (RIP) would survive their attack and be able to point them out to police.

My father was heartbroken when he learned a friend had come knocking at the door in the early hours of the morning to bring the bad news and he hadn't heard them.

I have often wondered if we had answered the door that night would my father have had the chance to say "good-bye" to his brother. To his dying day I never told him we had heard the rapping that morning.

The young man shot earlier in the evening was the brother of a close friend, killed because he was in a "mixed" relationship. (Catholic/Protestant).

Gerard McLaverty was the brother of a dear family friend who assisted in the care of my disabled niece Clare. Gerard was never the same after the attack. He lived everyday in fear of someone coming after him for being the only witness. On many occasions he could not deal with the demons and began to drink heavily and had a number of suicide attempts. Regretably he never got over it and was found dead at home on March 10 2008 from a heart attack.

When my father was dying one of the people he saw coming to meet him was Con. He turned in the bed to me and said, "Jesus Christ, that's our Con - I haven't seen him since", he never finished the sentence. My brother Martin and I had been watching with dad at this time, and I said to my dad, "Well are you going to say Hello?", "No I am not" said my dad, tell him to go away". I said out loud for Con to go away "My da's not ready for you yet" I said, "There you go da - he's away", I told my father. My dad turned toward me and whispered, "Is he walking or running", "What do you want him to do", I asked. "Run" my dad said, "Tell him to run". Once again I spoke out loud telling Con to run away, my da wasn't ready. Then I reassured my da that con was gone. "Good" he said and went back to sleep. Con was one of many people my dad said he saw before he died and at one point my brother Martin did a litany of " He's dead da, He's dead too.... Eventually we told my da he better stop seeing people or he`d never get into heaven for they would have to stop and widen the gates to make room for the crowd he has coming to meet him!.



Family Members


  • Created by: Rest in God
  • Added: 21 May 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 52692991
  • With Love, Gen Gal
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Corneilious “Quiet Man” Neeson (1927–1 Aug 1976), Find A Grave Memorial no. 52692991, citing Milltown Cemetery, Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland ; Maintained by Rest in God (contributor 47067323) .