Today I lodged papers with the Police Ombudsman. Details will follow. Essentially, I contend that PIRA was so completely penetrated by the state in 1990 that the murders of my parents were the state’s responsibility. This the police failed to investigate. I have given details of the PIRA informers, whose names I know and I have asked the Ombudsman to examine all state files. The exercise has taken a year of my life, which I have gladly given, for my parents. Other events have given me this opportunity, which I failed to take for twenty four years. A number of people who treated me badly during that time and who gave me no support will have their own God to answer to. I thank those who have stood by me through all my travails for these years. I thank those from both communities, who, in the last twelve months have given me information and insight. The PSNI and the PPS failed to come up to the mark. Let’s see if the Ombudsman is hewn from different wood.
It is reported that Chief Supt. Nigel Grimshaw told the AGM of the Superintendents’ Association of NI that “we need to see the full implementation of strategies and policies which deal with those issues which continue to haunt us, parades , identities and in particular the past.”
He and his bosses would do the community and the past a great service by opening up the secret Special Branch files and confessing as to what is in them.
The concept that the identity or safety of paramilitary touts trumps the prosecution of those who should stand trial for the murder of innocent civilians is deeply wrong.
Of course the state could order the opening of the files or some Special Branch man, luxuriating in his Patton pension, topped up with further state work, could salve his conscience by telling the truth.
Come to think of it, there must be a few Branch men still left in the current PSNI high command, if Marty is right.
Some readers of this blog may have thought that I was uncharacteristically quiet. Worry not , Dear Reader, I have been working hard. I intend to publish, for the twenty fifth anniversary of the murder of my parents, a comprehensive analysis of those who ordered and carried out the act. Thereafter I intend to pursue them through the legal process. We will see, in time, how robust the PSNI and the legal system here really is. Until then audi, vide, tace.
Geraldine Finucane is reported as saying “gunmen were two-a-penny in Northern Ireland. They don’t interest me. I’m interested in the chain of command.’ If she did say that , I agree with her. I, too, on the ninetieth anniversary of my father’s birth, am interested in the chain of command that led to his murder and the murder of my mother.
The chain of command led from the ASU , through Spike Murray, Bobby Storey and Brian Gillen , to Martin McGuinness. At least one of this group and possibly more, were State agents.
The murder of Pat Finucane, whom I knew, is no more replete with State involvement than many murders in Northern Ireland. Paramilitary organisations were so heavily infiltrated by the late 1980s that the State had overall control of who lived and who died.
The line parroted by the police , that “there are no fresh evidential leads” is a barefaced lie in many cases.
What government in the West does not target the leaders of terrorist organisations? Consider the behaviour of the Americans and the Israelis. Does it not strike the ordinary citizen of Northern Ireland that not one senior terrorist leader was prosecuted after the 1970s?
I am sure that there is information, given by State agents, which would lead to the prosecution of many senior paramilitary figures. To blame, for example, the Republic of Ireland for withholding information on Kingsmills is a clever red herring, dangled by the British and swallowed by people like Wiilliam Frazer. The truth is sitting in British files.
It’s time to prise it free and do justice for all those killed by the State.
So far , of course, unlike the Finucane family I have not had the advantage of any inquiry.
The Historical Enquiries Team told me in 2008 that “whenever a device failed to detonate it would be examined by Army Technical Officer’s [sic] and by this means ‘technically’ linked to other devices…There is no specific reference in the available case papers detailing any linkage between the UCBT used in the murder of your parents and other devices recovered during this period.”
Note there is no mention of forensic scientists.
In May 2014, I asked the Chief Constable [among other things] :
1. What did the examination of the surviving bombs reveal?
2. Are the component parts of these bombs still available for evidential purposes?
3. What DNA has or could be extracted from these items?
ACC Harris [as he then was] replied in August 2014 as follows:
“The HET report made reference to fifteen UCBT type devices being defused. Although the SCRT review has led to the identification of potential forensic opportunities in respect of these devices, a senior scientist has concluded that although the bombs were similar in their makeup, they had subtle differences and could not be attributed to a single bomb maker.”
I asked Forensic Science NI for a copy of the report. Their reply was that :
“FSNI examined a number of devices during the period 1990 to 1992 however these were not correlated into any single report that we hold or have access to in our files.”
I served a freedom of information request on the PSNI on 13th November 2014. After much delay, it turns out that there is no report. Police now say that there was a verbal discussion with the HET during July 2014. They then go on , later in their reply to me to say this :
“there is no written report from the senior scientist in the case papers or the material created or gathered by the HET. The senior scientist verbally briefed the SIO and did not produce a written report or record notes of the verbal comments.”
So, dear reader, there you have it. Fourteen years after the murders , a senior police officer has a “verbal discussion” with a “senior scientist”. The latter has no written report and the former, disgracefully in respect of such an important matter, makes no notes whatsoever.
It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that police operations are populated with clowns and that senior officers would tell you anything.
Of course the alternative explanation is that they have been told not to try too hard.
Whichever way it is , the pain and grief that this disgraceful behaviour causes victims is beyond words.
On 11th August ACC Harris, as he then was said this , [in response to my assertion that Ed Moloney ,in his book”A Secret History of the IRA, pointed to McGuinness as the man who had ordered the murders of my parents] :
“The information contained within the book …is anonymous. The author Ed Moloney has previously been spoken to and is unwilling to disclose the identity of his sources.”
The police told the Senior Assistant Director of the PPS the same thing. He repeated to me: “Mr Moloney has previously been spoken to by police and was unwilling to disclose the identity of his sources.” The police were not briefing Mr Herron about interactions with Ed Moloney, they were dealing with a specific allegation.
Mr Moloney told me that no police officer had ever spoken to him about anything in his book, originally published in 2002.
I challenged the Chief Constable. He nodded the ball to ACC Kerr. He nodded the ball to D Supt Murphy, who seems to be in the Legacy Investigations Branch, probably the fourth or fifth outfit I have had to deal with. He replied :”ACC Harris previously wrote to you about interactions with Mr Moloney. In that letter , Mr Harris states that previous requests to Mr Moloney have not resulted in a positive response. I should emphasise that this was intended to reference other cases within the remit of the Historical Enquiries Team , rather than the murders of your parents specifically. I apologise if any confusion was caused.”
Of course ACC Harris did not write to me “about interactions with Mr Moloney”. He wrote to me about a specific allegation contained in a book written over twelve years ago.
Readers can make up their own mind about the honesty of the police responses.
It now appears that they are going to attempt to make contact with Mr Moloney.
The fact is that the police were ordered not to investigate the chain of command in any bombing or shooting. The ASU did not just have an idea one day that they would go and kill someone. It was scouted , planned and approved. In my parents’ case the project would have gone up the line through Spike Murray, Brian Gillen, Bobby Storey and then to McGuinness. At least two of these people were State informers, Gillen and McGuinness.
I therefore allege that the State was aware of the identity of the people who conspired to kill my parents , as well as the killers themselves. Effectively, the State was engaged in murder. This matter will now be taken up again with the PPS, though not with the Director, who was at all material times, McGuinness’s lawyer. I am not aware of whether or not he represented Spike Murray , Brian Gillen or Bobby Storey.
Meanwhile I still await the PSNI explanation about forensic examination of UCBTs, outstanding since 13th November.
Readers may recall that Ed Moloney took issue with the assertion by ACCs Harris and Kerr that they had spoken to him “previously” about his book “A secret History of the IRA”. A month has passed since I asked the Chief Constable to explain what is at least a contradiction. How long does it take either to provide some proof of contact with Mr Moloney or to apologise?
Readers will know that my parents were murdered in June 1990. In October 2002 I wrote to the Chief Constable, pointing out that in the intervening years, I had had no contact of any sort with any officer in charge of the investigation. It took a further letter in January 2003 to prise a response out of the Chief Constable. He first nodded the ball, through Supt Harris [yes it is he!] to ACC McQuillan, known [affectionately?] by his colleagues as “the salad dodger”. He failed to reply. Supt Harris then passed the buck to ACC Hunter. She apologised for the delay in reply and for the failure to liaise over the past twelve years. She was unable to explain the failures because ‘senior members of the team…have ended their police careers.”
Two matters arise.
1. I am sure my experience is replicated many times over with other families.
2. What prevents the PSNI from contacting retired officers to discuss such matters? They are, after all, in receipt of substantial pensions from the public purse.
Next time: when is an investigation not an investigation?
Readers will know that I intend to walk through my experience with the state in respect of the murders of my parents.
Today, my exposition is the failure of the PSNI to properly relate to those who correspond with them.
It seems that “personal, professional, protective policing” has been replaced , on the 2015 letter heading , with “keeping people safe”. I wonder why?
I’m told that only two police stations Musgrave and Strand Road are open though the night, I wonder if this is correct?
Anyway, chronologically, here are the officers I have dealt with in my quest for justice for my parents. It is important to know that I always wrote to the Chief Constable, most of who couldn’t be arsed replying personally , except for Hugh!
CC Hugh Orde!!!
D Ch S Hanna
ACC Harris [again!]
I think I’m going backwards again.
The FOI response, promised last week on forensics , has not materialised.
Blog by blog I will take you through the swamp that is supposedly the investigation of terrorist activity in Northern Ireland. Thousands of other crimes are presumably dealt with in a similar fashion , while one of the architects, McGuinness, is DFM.
You will be unsurprised to learn that I have had no explanation from the PSNI about their statement about Ed Moloney.
Next year I will deal, point by point , with the state’s cover up of McGuinness’ role and its refusal to prosecute him, despite evidence being available. I will be pressing the state for a prosecution for the murders of my parents.
I will also be pursuing the various pieces of evidence being withheld at present.
I will also set out how the PSNI in particular failed to respond properly to my requests. I have asked the Chief Constable for an explanation of the statements of Harris and Kerr regarding Ed Moloney.
Meantime , the issue of outstanding forensic evidence remains unresolved. I am promised a reply by early January, we will see.
I may well refer all these matters to the Police Ombudsman.
I will be availing of the offer of a meeting with the Attorney General.
My campaign goes on.
“In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer” Albert Camus.