UK faces 'collusion' inquiry call

The British government was today expected to face more demands for an inquiry into alleged collusion between members of the security forces in Northern Ireland and loyalist paramilitaries in killings during the Troubles.

The British government was today expected to face more demands for an inquiry into alleged collusion between members of the security forces in Northern Ireland and loyalist paramilitaries in killings during the Troubles.

A Sinn Féin delegation was today expected to press Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy on the issue during a meeting on the peace process.

The party was expected to raise concerns highlighted in a Police Ombudsman report this week about the investigation into the death of a GAA official, Sean Brown, in 1977.

Mr Brown was abducted by a Loyalist Volunteer Force gang as he locked up his GAA club in Bellaghy, Co Derry on May 12, 1977.

His body was found beside his burnt out car 10 miles away in Randalstown.

On Monday, Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan and her team of investigators claimed the Royal Ulster Constabulary’s probe into the killing was both “incomplete and inadequate”.

In a damning report, the Police Ombudsman’s office criticised the RUC’s investigation team for a number of shortcomings.

These included:

:: missing documents including the “unexplained disappearance” of the murder investigation policy file and the occurrence book for Bellaghy RUC Station.

:: failure properly to test forensic evidence such as discarded cigarette butts found near Mr Brown’s body.

:: failure to carry out more house-to-house inquiries and follow up witness leads.

:: a lack of sharing of information between Special Branch and the RUC’s team of investigators.

:: a failure properly to trace the history of the weapon used in the GAA official’s killing.

Ms O’Loan’s office said while they had found no evidence of police collusion in Mr Brown’s death, they felt the investigation into his murder had not been properly or efficiently carried out and that “no earnest effort was made to identify those who carried out the murder.”

Sinn Féin’s delegation today is due to be headed up by party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin and Mid-Ulster Assembly Member Geraldine Doogan who promised to raise Mr Brown’s case with the Northern Ireland Secretary.

The party was also expected to challenge the government about its plans to publish reports by the retired Canadian judge Peter Cory on four controversial killings during the Troubles.

The British government has not yet released the reports on the killings of solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, Portadown Catholic father of two Robert Hamill and LVF leader Billy Wright.

Judge Cory informed the families of all four murder victims that he had recommended inquiries into each of their cases.

However the UK government has been criticised for failing to release the reports especially after the Irish Government published reports written by the judge into two controversial killings relating to the Republic.

Last week in the House of Commons Mr Murphy said the British government still had legal and security implications to take into consideration before they could publish Judge Cory’s findings.

However the family of Pat Finucane, who was gunned down in his North Belfast home in February 1989 by the loyalist Ulster Freedom Fighters and whose murder has been dogged by allegations of security force involvement, have succeeded in securing a judicial review of the government’s decision not to release the Cory report.

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