Northern Ireland news

Coroner to examine files on Kieran Doherty shooting probe

Kieran Doherty was murdered in Derry in 2010
David Young, Press Association

A coroner examining the murder of a dissident republican is to review top secret files related to an official probe into alleged MI5 involvement in the case.

Real IRA man Kieran Doherty (31) was shot dead in February 2010 and his body dumped near Derry.

The Real IRA claimed responsibility for the killing of one of its own members, but nobody has ever been charged with the murder of the father-of-one.

In the weeks before his death, Mr Doherty claimed MI5 attempted to recruit him as an agent and his family raised concerns the British Security Services could have played a role in his death.

In the wake of the murder, the UK's then independent reviewer of the Security Services, Lord Carlile, examined the circumstances of the shooting.

While he concluded there was no inappropriate action by MI5, the full contents of his report was classified on national security grounds.

Coroner Brian Sherrard, who is presiding over a forthcoming inquest into the death, is now set to review the top secret contents to assess its relevance to his probe.

Mr Sherrard told a preliminary hearing in Belfast that he would conduct the exercise once police files on the murder were disclosed to the inquest.

"Until we get to grips with material in the public domain it will be hard to assess the value of materials that are held elsewhere that may have assisted Lord Carlile," he said.

The coroner praised progress in security vetting and disclosing police files after the court heard 800 pages of fresh material had now been passed to the court.

"I appreciate Rome wasn't built in a day in this respect, but I am grateful for the efforts thus far," he said.

The next preliminary hearing was scheduled for December 13.

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