Northern Ireland news

West Belfast woman interned in 1970s starts pioneering test case

A west Belfast woman is pressing for full disclosure of documents over her internment without trial in the 1970s
Staff Reporter

A WEST Belfast woman interned during the Troubles is pressing for full disclosure of documents in a bid to back claims she was subjected to inhuman conditions.

Lawyers for Evelyn Gilroy predict her legal action against the British government, police and Ministry of Defence could pave the way for hundreds of others detained without trial.

Ms Gilroy is involved in a test case over her arrest and imprisonment in May 1974.

She was held for three days in an RUC station before being transferred to Armagh prison where she was held until Christmas that year, according to her claim.

Nearly 2,000 people, most of them Catholic, were held without trial between 1971 and 1975.

Ms Gilroy is seeking damages for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, negligence, breach of statutory duty and misfeasance in public office.

Her legal team returned to court in a bid to secure discovery of all relevant documents from the defendants.

But proceedings have now been adjourned until next month to allow any public interest immunity (PII) process to be carried out.

At that stage a timetable is expected for whatever disclosure is to be made.

Outside court on Monday, Ms Gilroy's lawyer, Barry Woods of O Muirigh Solicitors, claimed she had been kept in an RUC cell "in conditions unfit for human occupation".

He predicted the action could have a major impact on others subjected to the same process.

Mr Woods added: "The case raises very important issues for a large number of other internees who are awaiting the outcome before proceeding with their own civil actions."

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