Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Glenanne Gang: Ruling will expose security force collusion

The High Court in Belfast has granted permission for a judicial review of a series of murders carried out by the notorious loyalist Glenanne Gang in the 1970s.

The gang – which included members of the RUC and UDR – has been accused of involvement in more than 120 murders, including those of the three Reavey brothers in Whitecross in January 1976.

Thirteen-year-old Patrick Barnard was another victim of the gang.  His brother Edward brought the legal challenge against the Chief Constable into how the Historical Enquries Team (HET) investigated his brother’s murder.  The HET was effectively closed down before its findings were delivered.

Commenting, Mr Barnard’s solicitor Kevin Winters said: “The Het has gone and there has been no sight of a wide-ranging review into the Glenanne gang murders, despite the fact that it is known that such a review was almost completed and would have contributed to Edward Barnard’s knowledge of the role of state collusion in the activities of the Glenanne gang”.

Speaking after the ruling, Eugene Reavey, said it was “a very significant day” for all the affected families.

“I have been saying for years and years that there had been collusion between the security forces.  The Glenanne Gang was encouraged to commit these murders.

“We the families of the victims will all be vindicated soon, any of the families who have had slurs or innuendo set against them will now be cleared,” he said.

Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy welcomed the decision and pledged his party’s support.

“The so-called Glenanne Gang was responsible for more than 100 murders, mainly nationalist civilians, in counties Armagh and Tyrone as well as being involved in the Dublin/Monaghan bombings,” he said.

“The inquiry into the activities of this British murder gang has effectively been closed down. The State is once again seeking to delay the truth about the central and pivotal role of its armed forces in running murder gangs over the period of the conflict.

“The campaign of murder waged and directed by members of the British forces against nationalist and Catholic communities has been well-documented. It’s unacceptable that the State continues to refuse to take responsibility for its actions and in doing so only adds to the pain and the anguish of the victims.”

The review is scheduled to be held in May.