News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

January 22, 2007

Police Destroyed Evidence to Avoid Prosecutions - O'Loan

Police Destroyed Evidence To Avoid Prosecutions - O'Loan

01/22/07 12:58 EST

Speaking after the release earlier today of the damning
Police Ombudsman's (Watchdog) report into collusion between
Northern Ireland Police Special Branch and the loyalist
paramilitary UVF, Human Rights groups, the Pat Finucane
Centre and Relatives for Justice, called for the RUC police
constable at the time of the collusion, Ronnie Flanagan, to
be charged.

Raymond McCord, who lodged the original complaint which led
to the report said earlier today in relation to the Chief
Inspector of Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabulary
(HMIC) and former RUC Chief Contable Ronnie Flanagan : "If
he's trying to tell us he didn't know what was going on, he
was a very poor chief constable and he shouldn't be in the
position that he's in now."

"If he did know what was going on, charges should be brought
against him and he should be stripped of his knighthood.”

RFJ and the PFC fully endorsed Mr. McCord's comments and
called on British Home Secretary John Reid MP to review
Flanagan's continued employment as the British government's
"principal professional policing adviser" as he is described
on the HMIC website.

Speaking this afternoon RFJ spokesperson Mark Thompson
revealed that a pdf version of the report had been emailed
to British Home Secretary John Reid earlier today with a
call for urgent action.

PFC spokesperson Paul O'Connor explained: "During the
period investigated by OPONI Ronnie Flanagan held a number
of senior positions including Operational Commander for
Belfast, Head of Special Branch and finally Chief Constable.
We fully support Raymond Mc Cord's call for his
actions/inactions during this period to be investigated. "

Nuala O'Loan's report published this morning revealed that
upwards of 40 officers failed to cooperate with her inquiry
- 'Operation Ballast' - It was also established that the RUC
Tasking and Coordinating Group (TCG) destroyed evidence.

Of the 40 officers who failed to cooperate 2 were former
Assistant Chief Constables, 7 were Det Chief Inspectors, and
2 were Detective Superintendents.

The report stated that police Special Branch officers gave
the killers immunity.

The officers ensured the murderers were not caught and even
"baby-sat" them during police interviews to help them avoid
incriminating themselves.

The Special Branch officers "created false notes" and
blocked searches for UVF weapons.

They also paid almost GBP £80,000 (US$150,000) to leading
loyalist Mark Haddock, jailed for 10 years last November for
an attack on a nightclub doorman.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said republicans would "not
be surprised or shocked by the revelations" .

"We think that it's an incentive that the mechanisms which
were put in place for accountability, which we put in place
and which we have argued for, now need to be deployed, not
only to make sure that this does not happen (again), but if
it does, that those guilty will be dealt with properly," he

The report, published today, called for a number of murder
investigations to be re-opened.

But it is unlikely that any of the police officers involved
will be prosecuted - the ombudsman said that evidence was
deliberately destroyed to ensure there could not be

Nuala O'Loan said investigation was a lengthy task.

"What emerged during our inquiries was that all of the
informants at the centre of this investigation were members
of the UVF," she said.

"There was no effective strategic management of these
informants. As a consequence of the practices of Special
Branch, the position of the UVF, particularly in north
Belfast and Newtownabbey was consolidated and strengthened
over the years. How could this happen?"

Mrs O'Loan said former Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan
was interviewed by her office, but was unable to assist the

The report said: "Others, including some serving officers,
gave evasive, contradictory, and on occasion farcical
answers to questions. On occasion those answers indicated
either a significant failure to understand the law, or
contempt for the law."

The ombudsman's investigation began more than three years
ago when Belfast welder Raymond McCord claimed that his son,
also called Raymond, had been killed by a police informer.

The former RAF man, 22, was a member of the UVF who had some
involvement in drugs.

In 1977, he was beaten to death and his body dumped in a quarry.

Mr McCord has said he wants those who murdered his son to be
put in prison.

He said he had received a death threat at the weekend from
the UVF.

Among the investigations which could be re-opened are the
murder in north Belfast in 1992 of 27-year-old taxi driver
Sharon McKenna, who was shot at the home of an elderly friend.

The names of the police officers and the informers have not
been made public.

However, it is known that the main informer at the center of
the investigation is Mark Haddock, who was named in the
Irish parliament 15 months ago as a UVF killer.

Some of the Special Branch officers criticised in the report
have rejected the ombudsman's allegations as "unfounded and
incapable of substantiation" .

In a statement, the Northern Ireland Retired Police
Officers' Association said they had always acted in the best
interests of the pursuit of justice and had nothing to be
ashamed of.

The officers also challenged the ombudsman to disclose the
details of any evidence of their criminal behaviour
discovered during her investigation.

Jimmy Spratt of the DUP said: "If this report had had one
shred of credible evidence then we could have expected
charges against former Police Officers."

"There are no charges, so the public should draw their own
conclusion, the report is clearly based on little fact."

"This report is another clear example why both serving and
former Police Officers have no confidence in the Police
Ombudsman or her office, the goverment should immediately
appoint an independent body to investigate complaints made
against her and her office."

The Irish American Information Service is a non-profit organization
providing up-to-the-minute political news from Ireland to the world.
The IAIS is funded entirely by your contributions. Please send your
tax-deductible contributions to IAIS at 505 S East St, Culpeper VA 22701
You can visit us on the Web at http://www.iais. org

To Subscribe to Irish Aires Google News List, click
To Unsub from Irish Aires Google News List, click
For options visit:

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click
(Paste into a News Reader)

To January Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?