Victims’ brother’s delight at Glenanne Gang ruling

July 8, 2019

 by Diarmúid Pepper

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a full and independent investigation into alleged collusion between the security services and the loyalist Glenanne gang must be held.

Eugene Reavey, who lost three brothers in the attack at his then-family home, says he and his family are “delighted” with the ruling.

“I never thought that I would see the day when we would have the Lord Chief Justice instruct the Chief Constable Simon Byrne to complete this overarching report into the Glenanne series of killings,” Mr Reavey told The Examiner on the day of the ruling.

“In doing so, he told him that he didn’t think the PSNI or the LIB (Legacy Branch Investigation) could be impartial and he has asked for an outside force to make an investigation,” continued Mr Reavey.

“It is a very strong statement from him because he has put the Chief Constable under serious pressure. He told him that if there were any delays then he would be at risk of further proceedings.”

Mr Reavey says that on his end, the investigation has already begun.

“This opens the pathway for all these families and the investigation started Friday. The team have been working away from lunch time on Friday to make arrangements with the PSNI.”

Mr Reavey further told The Examiner that he hopes the investigation can be time-limited.

“It has to be time-limited so that they would not be able to prolong the investigations and stretch it out or kick the can,” said Mr Reavey.

He continued: “Our solicitors, on negotiations with the Crown, will include a date and I wish to also thank Dave Cox and Steve Morris from the original Historical Enquiries Team (HET) investigations because they did all the work.”

Eugene Reavey

It has been a long road to Friday’s ruling and Mr Reavey said the ruling justified his relentless work as regards the 1976 killings.

“I have been abused and called a liar all my life,” revealed Mr Reavey, “because I have stood up for justice and fought every day of my life to get this far.

“I don’t wish any ill on any of my neighbours, I have done this to get justice for my brothers and that is all I was ever looking for, the truth.”

Commenting on Friday’s ruling, Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “I accept this judgment and, while we will take time to consider the fullness of its implications, we will now commence work to appoint the Independent Police Team to conduct an analytical report on collusion as ordered by the court.”

However, Sinn Fèin MP Mickey Brady said that Chief Constable Simon Byrne needs to “listen to the families by ending the stalking tactics”. 

Brady said: “He should not resort to a further appeal but should get on with facilitating an effective, independent investigation in line with the families wishes.

“Regrettably, the PSNI has sought to frustrate and delay progress and justice by appealing it.

“The court was clear that an independent investigation must take place into the brutal campaign carried out by the Glennane Gang in league with the RUC and British Army at that time.”

Meanwhile, Aontú Armagh representative Martin Kelly also called for the investigation to be time-limited.

“It’s vital that this investigation into the ties between the British Army, the RUC and loyalist paramilitaries is time scaled in order to afford the many families affected by closure and the ability to move on with their lives,” said Mr Kelly.

Mr Kelly added: “Collusion is not an allegation but a reality. Murder and mayhem was committed on a mass scale and with impunity.”