It's ten years since the death of the Quinn boys

THIS week marks ten years since the tragic deaths of the three young Quinn brothers - Richard, Mark and Jason - in a petrol bomb attack on their Carnany home.

Their killings horrified the world as the television cameras and mass media descended on the town to pick apart the latest in the list of repulsive deeds carried out in the province.

The Quinn boys were 10, 9 and 7 when they died. They perished in their beds in the early hours of the morning by a firebomb thrown in the ground-floor window of their two-storey house.

The deaths came at the height of the most volatile period in the Drumcree stand-off, but police at the time didn't link the two, suspecting only that loyalists were to blame.

Rev. Ian Paisley condemned the 'dastardly murders' of the children, saying it 'stained Protestantism'.

The Ballymoney Times carried a story on the week of the deaths on a caller from the Carnany estate who was worried that 'things are getting out of hand'. She added that she feared something serious might happen 'unless catholic residents were left alone'.

The Times' inside headline - 'Distraught neighbours heard the young boys screaming for help' - said everything of the tragedy and futility of their deaths.

''The news of the deaths of these three boys has touched the hearts of people across the continents,'' the Rev. Peter Forde told the mourners at their funeral, who thronged every aisle and standing area of the Church of Our Lady and St. Patrick in Rasharkin.

A loudspeaker brought the Requiem Mass to people outside who could not fit in.

Richard Quinn, 11, Mark, nine, and eight-year-old Jason were brought up as Protestants and attended a Protestant school.

British Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair, added his condemnation for what happened in Ballymoney when he said the arson attack was "an act of barbarism".

Mr Blair said: "Evil and vicious sectarian murders must not be allowed to triumph over the clear will of the majority of right and good thinking people who want to pursue a future of peace for Northern Ireland."