Statement from Clara Reilly Chairperson of Relatives for Justice
This task has been consistently thwarted by vested interests more concerned with preserving their own narrative than delivering basic human rights to those worst affected by our conflict.
Over the past five years efforts to control scrutiny of the state’s role during our conflict has had a significant detrimental impact on the PSNI. Elements within the PSNI who strenuously deny victims of the conflict access to basic information and due process have by their actions in Inquest courts, the Historical Enquiries Team and with the Office of the Police Ombudsman created an environment where the Past now threatens the very institution of the PSNI.
All of this while the recommendations of both the Consultative Group on the Past (Eames Bradley) and the Hass O’Sullivan talks go unimplemented.
Former PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde has made significant statements regarding the need for any process that deals with our past to be removed from the PSNI.
He has called on the two governments to establish an independent process.
This does not come from a vacuum. Hugh Orde was involved in the Stevens Team which investigated collusion and the murder of human rights solicitor Pat Finucane. He has seen the secrets that vested interests wish to protect.
John Ware has made significant Panorama programmes that interrogate state actions and policies during our conflict. From the Dirty War which examined the operation of the Force Research Unit and the policy of collusion, and in it the exposure of MI5’s Brigadier Gordon Kerr and the their role in arming loyalism and procuring murder, Who Bombed Omagh which made public the role of agents and covert British army units connected to the bombing on Omagh in 1998 and License to Kill broadcast last November which outlined the working of Military Reconnaissance Unit, John Ware has brought to public view British army’s policies and practices which remain unaccounted for in our courts. Through his style of investigation he has brought more truth to families than any official process to date.
Denis Bradley since his work on the Consultative Group on the Past has repeatedly underlined the need to comprehensively deal with our past. He has in public and private fora argued for a process which is independent and which acknowledges the roles of all actors to our conflict. In particular he has argued for the need to remove the investigation of all conflict related killings from the PSNI. In recent weeks he has spoken about the fundamental threat to the very existence of the PSNI if the past is not removed from it.
This event in Féile an Phobail is an opportunity to debate how we deal with our past and include a figure who has an insight into the thinking of the vested interests of the state who argues for a truth recovery process based on independence.
The conversation will take place in the Balmoral Hotel at 3pm on Thursday 7th August. This is a non-ticketed event so we advise those wishing to attend to come early as there has been great interest.