‘Progress made’ in preparations for inquest into Kevin McGuigan death

The father-of-nine was shot in the Short Strand in Belfast in August 2015
‘Progress made’ in preparations for inquest into Kevin McGuigan death
Belfast Coroner’s Court (Liam McBurney/PA)

Progress has been made in preparations for an inquest into the murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan, Belfast Coroner’s Court has heard.

The father-of-nine was shot in the Short Strand in Belfast in August 2015.

The murder prompted a political crisis at Stormont amid claims IRA members were involved in the killing.

Kevin McGuigan with his grandson Ollie, who was in hospital in 2011 (Family handout/PA)

An inquest is listed to take place in May. However, there had been delays in accessing PSNI file vaults to examine documents related to the case due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Files deemed as sensitive need to go through a court process to establish the degree to which they will be used at the inquest and what redactions may be needed.

A preliminary hearing on Monday afternoon heard some progress has been made.

However, while some materials have been provided by the PSNI, preparatory work is needed on some other documents.

Peter Coll, QC, acting for the PSNI, told the court the PSNI is “conscious of the fact this case is listed to commence on May 10, and intend to bring further resources into play in order to try to expedite that work as much as possible”.

Coroner Paddy McGurgan said he acknowledged there is “a lot of work being done in the background”, adding: “The PSNI are clearly giving a lot of serious consideration to trying to meet my deadlines in this.”

He emphasised his intention to hear the inquest as planned from May 10.

“The risk is that we miss the hearing date, and my diary is a problem then after May, so I think we try to keep our foot to the floor in this if we can and try to keep it on track,” he told the court.

Laura McMahon, acting for the McGuigan family, referred to correspondence sent on behalf of the family to the coroner making requests for information from the PSNI for the inquest to receive.

These include disclosure of information around a death threat/death threats against Mr McGuigan and any documentation that confirms he had not been considered a suspect in the murder of Jock Davison in May 2015.

Another preliminary hearing will take place on March 23.

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