Northern Ireland news

Glennane Gang victims make public appeal to Chief Constable

Eugene Reavey, whose three brothers were murdered by the Glenanne Gang, surrounded by lawyers and relatives outside Belfast High Court earlier this year.

THE families of 120 victims of loyalist paramilitary killers known as the Glenanne Gang are demanding the chief constable abide by a court ruling and order an independent investigation into the murders.

Through the Pat Finucane Centre the families have today published an open letter calling on George Hamilton to do the "right thing".

The killings, that took place in Armagh, Tyrone, Down, Louth and Monaghan between 1972 and 1978 were previously investigated by the now defunct Historical Enquiries Team, however the cold case team was disbanded before the final report was released.

The report was passed to the PSNI, which has not released it to the victims' families.

In June this year, in a landmark ruling, Mr Justice Treacy ruled that the PSNI's action breached the families' human rights and ordered police to consult with the victims and come up with an acceptable way to proceed with a new investigation.

The PSNI failed to meet a deadline for a solution and last month the High Court issued an 'Order of Mandamus' which compels the police to abide by the ruling and meet their statutory duty.

Justice Treacy said: "The very sad and inescapable fact is that while these debates rage at huge public expense the victims' families languish with no end in sight."

In a two page open letter, the victims have called on the PSNI to "find an independent body acceptable to us to finish the work on collusion and the 'Glenanne Gang' - or continue fighting an ultimately self-defeating rearguard action against us, the bereaved families, and the truth".

"We have lost our fathers and mothers, our wives, our husbands, our sons, our daughters, our brothers, our sisters and - in two cases - children as yet unborn to our close relatives.

"How much better would it be - for the families and for all of us living here - if instead of fighting every inch of the way, you released that information for us all to see and learn from."

Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre said: "Sunday is international human rights day and the fundamental rights of these families has been denied them for years, the chief constable should do the right thing, this is solvable, this is doable.

"We make the point that the legal advice is an appeal by the chief constable would not be successful, but it will be successful in denying justice to some very elderly victims."

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