Police silence since Glenanne ruling ‘insulting’ say victims’ families

September 25, 2017

The PSNI has come under heavy criticism for failing to contact relatives of victims of the Glenanne Gang to offer a new investigation into the murders. 

Relatives of the gang’s victims have described the police silence as “insulting” and “unacceptable.”

A judge found in July that police chiefs unlawfully frustrated any chance of an effective inquiry into suspected state collusion with the Glenanne Gang, whose members included serving officers of the RUC and the UDR.  The gang is believed to be have been responsible for up to 120 murders in nearly 90 incidents in the Troubles, including the Miami Showband massacre in 1975 and the Step Inn pub bombing in Keady a year later.

Justice Treacy said victims’ families were denied in their legitimate expectation that the now-defunct Historical Enquiries Team (HET) would publish an overarching report on the UVF gang’s killing spree throughout the 1970s.

A draft HET report into alleged collusion between security forces and the killers was said to have been 80 per cent finalised before being shelved by former Chief Constable Matt Baggott.

In the wake of the momentous judgement relatives called for a “fully resourced and robust” independent inquiry into the collusion claims and for the PSNI to complete the unfinished HET report and publish its findings.

Lawyers were given until the start of September to try to agree on the appropriate form of relief in the case, however that deadline has now passed.

Darragh Mackin of KRW Law, who wrote to Chief Constable George Hamilton following the ruling to arrange a meeting, revealed he has still not received any acknowledgement from the PSNI.

“We would have expected at least the offer of a meeting to discuss a way forward at this stage, which is all we initially asked for,” he said.

Alan Brecknell, whose father Trevor was killed in a loyalist gun and bomb attack on Donnelly’s Bar in Silverbridge in December 1975, described the lack of contact as “insulting, unacceptable and damaging to public confidence in the PSNI.”

Anne Cadwallader whose book Lethal Allies documents the activities of the loyalist gang, said: “Every day that passes is yet another day when the families are denied their rights.”

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, Head of PSNI Legacy and Justice Branch, said the judgment was due to be released within the next few weeks.

“Once we receive the judgment we will consider it carefully,” he said.