Home Secretary decision on Hillsborough paves the way for collusion families –
Responding to news that British Home Secretary Jaqui Smith MP has intervened to have secret files relating to the Hillsborough Disaster made public and available to the families of those bereaved Relatives for Justice Director Mark Thompson said:
‘RFJ have a long association of solidarity with relatives of those bereaved at Hillsborough. Several years ago we had the privilege of hosting the Belfast launch of the book ‘Hillsborough’ by Professor Phil Scraton, who worked with the bereaved families and survivors, which examined in detail the events leading up to the disaster, the subsequent cover-up, and the legal battles by the families.
‘RFJ support fully the search for the truth and justice by the families and survivors of the Hillsborough Disaster and in that context we welcome this intervention by a British Home Secretary that secret files and information concerning the full extent of what happened to be now made available.
‘In relation to Ireland this latest intervention by British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith MP shows that when the political will exists then interventions can be made which are in both the interests of the families bereaved and the wider public. It is in that context that we would call on the British Government to also move the restrictions preventing the publication of the Stalker/Sampson Reports and the three investigations by Lord Stevens spanning 14- years which examined shoot-to-kill and collusion respectively.
‘The political conditions that prevailed at the time when these investigations were conducted and reports completed no longer exist. We are now in a new political post conflict environment in which transparency and openness should become the norm. Continuing secrecy and suppression of information concerning hundreds of murders is not in the public interest. Indeed failure to deal with the full facts will only serve to undermine political institutions and public confidence thus underlining the necessity of full disclosure of these reports.
Importantly hundreds of families here in the North live daily with the effects of official British government policies that were practiced during the conflict. That conflict is now over and the relatives bereaved require the truth about the full extent of those official policies much in the same way those affected by Hillsborough need the truth.
‘In terms of Stalker/Sampson we are talking 27 years ago which predates Hillsborough by 7 years – surely these families should not wait any longer in order to find out the full circumstances surrounding the killings of their loved ones.’