Colum Marks witness appeal

November 19, 2018

Police Ombudsman investigators were in Downpatrick last week as part of a witness appeal into the circumstances surrounding the controversial RUC shooting of Newry IRA volunteer, Colum Marks. 

The 29 year old Derrybeg man was fatally wounded when police opened fire during an attempted mortar attack by the IRA on security forces in Downpatrick on April 10 1991.  Mr Marks was shot three times and died later that night in hospital.

His family have maintained that the RUC was aware of a planned IRA operation more than eight hours before the attempted mortar attack and should have been able to arrest the suspects beforehand.  The Marks family also claimed there was evidence to suggest a state agent was involved in the shooting.

The controversial killing in a field near the Folly Lane area was investigated by the RUC at the time but key eyewitness accounts taken during a ‘community inquiry’ into the shooting were not taken into evidence. The Marks family pursued the case for disclosure through the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) in 1999  and in November 2015, the Police Ombudsman said that it could not re-investigate Mr Marks’ death due to domestic legislation. The emergence of a new eyewitness however prompted the police watchdog to re-open the case in 2016. 

Ombudsman Investigators carried out their witness appeal in the South East Regional College from 10 am to 6pm on Wednesday asking for anyone with information about the incident to come and speak to to them.   Alternatively, anyone with any information on the shooting can contact the freephone witness appeal line on 0800 345 7106.