Family vows to pursue justice for murdered brothers

January 5, 2015

A Whitecross family, whose three brothers were murdered by the notorious loyalist Glenanne Gang 39 years ago, has initiated High Court proceedings against the British government for its failure to properly investigate the killings, The Examiner has learned.

John-Martin (24), Brian (22) and Anthony Reavey (17) were shot dead in their home on January 4th 1976 by gunmen – later identified as members of the Glenanne Gang that included RUC, UDR and military personnel.

In a protracted campaign, fraught with disappointment and despair, the Reavey family has sought to uncover the truth behind their brothers’ deaths, believing collusion between members of the security forces and the gunmen was central to the failure of the British government to conduct an appropriate investigation.

In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights found the government to be in breach of its Article 2 obligations, namely an absolute obligation for Member States to protect the life of their citizens, and to conduct a timely and thorough investigation into suspicious deaths.

Despite this ruling, the family was to wait a further five years before the NI Police Ombudsman confirmed the case fulfilled all the criteria to warrant a full investigation, which would receive priority status.

However, the most recent correspondence received by the Reavey family from the Ombudsman’s office revealed that budget cuts have forced the case to be deferred for a further ten years, until 2025.  This, the family says, is “completely unacceptable” and has prompted them to instigate legal proceedings.

It is understood the High Court action is to include families of other victims of the Glenanne Gang.

Outlining the court action, the Reavey family said in a statement: “The Court will hear the full extent of the series of deaths carried out by the Glenanne Gang, and why it is an injustice to try and isolate these cases in circumstances where such generic collusion was state practice at the time.”

Appealing to politicians, the statement continued: “[We] reiterate our plea for political representatives not to treat the justice of families as political fodder, but to use all means at their disposal to assist the family’s quest for justice for [our] three murdered brothers.

“This High Court challenge represents a new phase in the Reavey’s long and arduous campaign, and the family wishes to express thanks to everyone who has assisted thus far, and to express hope that we, along with the other victims of the Glennane Gang, will see justice.”

The family has also appealed to anyone who has information that may be relevant to the current proceedings, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to contact them.