Relatives of victims of a series of Loyalist murders committed between 1989 and 1993 have said they have been “verified” by the Police Ombudsman’s report, which states that “their concerns about collusive activity are valid and justified”. “.
“We have been proven right in our persistent claims of complicity, particularly by the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) and the UDR (Ulster Defense Regiment) in the killings of our loved ones,” they said in a statement issued by relatives for justice. The families of eight victims and two survivors of the attacks.
Other relatives also welcomed the report, including Amanda Fullerton, who said it was “important to get a public statement from anyone in high office that reflects your concerns about collusion”.
Ms. Fullerton’s father, Eddie, a Sinn Féin counselor, was shot dead in 1991 at their home in Bankrana, Donegal by loyalist paramilitary forces. In 2006, his family complained to the Police Ombudsman that RUC officers had colluded and failed to kill him. To assist in the Garda investigation.
His complaint later investigated police action in connection with 19 murders by the Police Ombudsman and several attempted murders by the North West UDA/UFF between 1989 and 1993, including the killing of eight people at the Rising Sun Bar. Gresteel, Co Derry in October 1993.
In her report published today (Friday), Mary Anderson identified “collusive behavior” and raised “significant concerns” about police conduct, but found no evidence that the RUC had been accused of any of the attacks considered in its report. had no prior knowledge about it.
She said that “most of the RUC investigative actions” in relation to the attacks in question were “proceeded in a thorough and diligent manner” with arrests and a number of individuals arrested and convicted.
import of arms
Ms Anderson outlined a number of specific findings, including “intelligence and surveillance failures”, which enabled the North West UDA/UFF to arm themselves with weapons from formerly loyalist arms imports and which “significantly increased” their capability.
There was a failure to warn many of the victims about threats to their lives, and a failure to act against some members of security forces who were suspected of passing information to loyalist paramilitaries.
The Police Ombudsman also criticized the RUC Special Branch’s failure to share all pertinent information with police colleagues investigating the attacks, and deliberate destruction of files, especially regarding informers.
They also raised significant concerns about the recruitment and handling of informants by the RUC Special Branch, particularly regarding the continued use of informers despite evidence they were “actively involved in serious crime, including murder”.
In relation to Mr. Fullerton’s murder, he concluded that the RUC inquiries on behalf of the En Garda ciochana in general were “timely and completely completed” but that there was no record of the RUC special branch requesting intelligence from Garda. had answered.
She also stated that she had found no evidence that the RUC had reported a loyalist threat to her life to Mr. Fullerton or to Gardai.
Ms Fullerton told The Irish Times that her family was “concerned” by the report to find out that one of the weapons used in her father’s murder was a stolen RUC gun, and that she was in custody in Derry. He was one of the police officers. Complicity was suspected after his arrest at a border protest in 1990.
The officer was interviewed under criminal caution after being questioned by the Police Ombudsman about intelligence that he had socialized at a local bar with suspected members of the North West UDA/UFF and a file was submitted to prosecutors.
The Ombudsman said it found no evidence of any member of the RUC providing information about Mr Fullerton to paramilitary loyalists.
Ms. Fullerton said: “There was never any criminal investigation of this particular person, so that gives you an idea of the level and extent of the collusion at that time.”
She said the family would now consult its legal team to consider the implications. “What we are looking for is to get to the truth of what happened and who was involved.”
The family of Patrick Shanaghan, who was assassinated in 1991 by loyalist paramilitary forces in Castellorg, Tyrone, also welcomed the report, saying it was “another indictment of the British government and police service”, but added that They were disappointed “aspects of their complaints relating to the actions of RUC officers prior to the murder of Key Patrick could not be dealt with.
In its report the Police Ombudsman also noted that the use of certain informants by the RUC Special Branch after the IRA bombing of Shankill Road in Belfast in October 1993 caused them “considerable concern”.
Information received from Loyalist prisoners on 30 October – the date of Gresteel’s firing – indicated that an attack in the Derry area was “imminent”, but police had received no information from their North West UDA/UFF informers that an attack had been planned. Preparations were being made.
Regarding one informant, Ms Anderson said, “his particular branch operators should have recognized that he was hiding information and was potentially involved in some attacks”.
She also said that her investigators had “received information that one of these informers chose not to share information with their masters that could have prevented the killings”.
The Police Ombudsman said that in his view “the police should consider a number of disruption tactics to address the threat of significant attack”, including arresting potential suspects under the terrorism law.
“This tactic caused the paramilitary forces to abandon their immediate plans and enabled the police to obtain additional information,” she said.
“It is my view that the failure to consider the disruption strategy was a significant missed opportunity by the RUC Special Branch. Within hours the Greysteel attack occurred, resulting in the death of eight members of the public.