The families of three IRA members killed by the SAS are demanding a full independent inquiry into ‘shoot to kill’ allegations surrounding their deaths. Dennis Brown (28), Jackie Mailey (29) and Jim Mulvenna (28) were shot by soldiers as they prepared to firebomb a post office in Ballysillan in north Belfast. A 27-year-old Protestant civilian, William Hanna, was also killed by security forces as he walked to his home close to the attack shortly after midnight on June 21 1978. At the time the army claimed the men were challenged at the post office and there was an exchange of fire – a claim vehemently denied by the men’s families. At a press conference in west Belfast yesterday relatives of the three IRA men and their supporters launched a concerted drive to find the truth about the events of that night 22 years ago. Geraldine Keenan, the sister of Dennis Brown, said the families did not dispute the men were involved in IRA activity at the time of their deaths. But she argued that they were unarmed apart from a bomb which was not primed to explode and that their target was uninhabited. “These premeditated and pre-planned killings contravene Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights: the right to life,” Ms Keenan said. Insisting the families have never received any explanation for the killings, she added: “The SAS were determined that no prisoners were to be taken alive that night.” Relatives want to know why security forces did not arrest the men if they knew about the unarmed IRA operation beforehand. Relatives for Justice chairman Mgnr Raymond Murray said: “There are basic human rules about shooting an unarmed, wounded man on the ground. “For these people there’s a healing in the truth and a justice stitched in the truth.” Mgnr Murray lambasted sections of the media for believing “the propaganda of the first statement” issued by security forces. He was particularly scathing about reports which linked the IRA men to the group which carried out the La Mon House bombing in which 12 people died. These were “stories without morality”, he said. Madden and Finucane solicitors, said: “If we don’t get answers we will take this to Europe. We are seeking an independent public inquiry into the whole issue.” Dennis Brown’s mother Margaret was visibly emotional as she told those gathered she needed “to be healed”. “I have carried this for 22 years. It’s so hard to talk about. All I want is to clear their names. They were IRA men but I am proud of that. They were good lads.”