Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Eoin Morley murder evidence to be heard in secret court

A High Court judge has ruled that evidence to be given by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the PSNI in connection with the murder of a Newry republican by a secret agent inside the IRA will be heard in closed court.

The evidence will be presented as part of their defence argument against legal action being taken by the mother of Eoin Morley, who was shot twice in the back and left for dead by a gang of armed and masked men who dragged him from his girlfriend’s home in Iveagh Crescent in Newry on Easter Sunday April 1990.

Eilish Morley is suing both the MoD and the PSNI over the killing of her son and she is also taking legal action against British Army Force Research Unit (FRU) agent, Peter Keeley, aka Kevin Fulton from Newry, for allegedly carrying out the killing.

At the time of his murder, Eoin Morley had been a member of the republican splinter group, the Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO) since his return to Newry in 1989, after he was ordered to leave the country when he left the Provisional IRA in 1986.

Mrs Morley claims the MoD either allegedly permitted the murder to happen or failed to prevent it taking place. Her action against the RUC claims they failed to carry out a proper investigation and that Special Branch officers withheld intelligence.

Suggestions that her son was an informer were dismissed by Mrs Morley immediately after Eoin’s murder.

An investigation by former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan concluded that the RUC failed to properly investigate Morley’s killing.  She also found there had been no effort by police to instigate a feud between the IRA and IPLO.

The MoD does not admit that Keeley was one of its secret agents and it also denies negligence and all other claims.

Defence lawyers for the Chief Constable and the MoD sought a declaration that closed material applications can be made in the case to ensure no damage to national security. Mrs Morley’s legal team argued that revealing obsolete historical operational methods could not damage national security.

Mr Justice Stephens held that the closed material is sensitive and essential to the case and confirmed that he was making a declaration that a closed material application can be made, with sensitive material to be disclosed by the MoD and PSNI during proceedings which will remain closed to the public with only the judge and special advocates permitted access to the intelligence documents.

The case was adjourned with another hearing scheduled for April.