Speaking after a series of briefings by the Police Ombudsman, Marie Anderson, into 19 murders and two attempted murders in the south Derry and north Antrim area from 1989 to 1993, a number of families bereaved and survivors of attacks have issued a statement through Relatives For Justice.
“We stand vindicated in our persistent claims of collusion, in particular by the RUC and UDR, in the murders of our loved ones.
“Irrefutable evidence of collusion has been provided to us which includes:
- The use of weapons imported from the South African apartheid regime. This involved all branches of the security forces so-called.
- That this weapons cache was the subject of covert surveillance and despite this and intelligence many of these weapons were distributed to loyalist paramilitary death squads, including the northwest UDA.
- These weapons were used to murder 10 of the 19 people killed.
Paid State Agents
- The RUC embarked upon a strategy to infiltrate the north west UDA from top to bottom recruiting numerous agents and informers.
- The ‘information’ they gained was by and large useless and special branch handlers who would have been well aware of this continued to run those same agents and informers.
- These agents and informers were engaged in a concerted sectarian campaign of violence waged against the republican and nationalist community. This included direct involvement and participation in murders. Yet the RUC continued to keep this relationship.
- A close relationship between key RUC officers, and UDR members, with the UDA was also known to the authorities. They simply asked them not to associate with the UDA.
“This, in our view, further vindicates our belief regarding the policy of collusion – the precise purpose of recruiting agents and informers was to carry out attacks and not to prevent such attacks. This infiltration strategy provided a greater risk to the public and outweighed any benefits, yet RUC special branch continued.
Destruction of Files
- Special branch deliberately destroyed the majority of records of these informers and agents. They failed to disrupt the UDA’s campaign of violence.
- TCG records were also destroyed routinely.
- This is described as ‘egregious’ in the report.
Senior State Actors Working With UDA/UFF with Impunity
- RUC officers were involved in providing information to the UDA.
- In one instance an RUC officer 23 with a close relationship to UDA members was merely transferred from duties in the north west to Belfast.
- In relation to Police Officer 12 there was intelligence in 1991 that he was passing information to loyalist paramilitaries. The PONI found that there was no investigation at the time rather he was moved to a different policing district.
- In another instance Person V, a UDR member, attended high level security force meetings and had access to high grade intelligence. He passed on this information to the UDA.
- This information directly led to the killing of Gerry Casey, suspected of being carried out by Person J who also was a member of the British army’s UDR.
- Despite this Person V evaded prosecution due to the RUC declining to arrest him, citing it was a matter for the Royal Military Police as he was a serving soldier.
- Person J was treated as a witness to the killing, and resigned from the UDR in 1991.
Failure to Warn Victims of Threat to Life
- A number of those targeted and killed were not warned about the threat levels to them despite their details being on military and police files found in the possession of the UDA.
- An Assistant Chief Constable instructed that no threat warnings be issued to the families of Bernard O’Hagan and Tommy Donaghy, despite files being found in the house of a suspected UDA member. Both were killed months later.
- The occupant of the house in which these files were found, with over 250 individuals’ details contained, including military documents, is Person J.
“Collectively this constitutes an irrefutable policy practice of collusion waged against our families and the wider republican and nationalist community.
“We will take time to analyse the 336-page report, and in due course make more substantive commentary.
“Today we remember our loved ones and pay tribute to them and everyone who stood with us in our quest for truth, justice and accountability. We also send our solidarity and best wishes to those who were injured and those who survived. This report vindicates our long-held belief that collusion was a key factor in the murders of our loved ones. And strengthens our resolve to seek full accountability.”
On behalf of the families of:
Gerry Casey; Tom Donaghy; Bernard O’Hagan; Danny Cassidy; Malachy Carey; Jimmy Kelly; Noel O’Kane; James McKenna; John Moyne And survivors: Gerry McIldowney and Rose Fahey