Letters to the Editor

Kelly murder remains dark stain on policing and justice systems

The murder of Trillick, Co. Tyrone councillor Patsy Kelly, in 1974 remains  a dark stain on our policing and justice systems. This was an abduction and killing widely believed to have been carried out by members of the Ulster Defence Regiment in uniform. 

That no-one has been brought to justice is a common and understandable theme of complaints made by the families of many victims of our conflict.

But what makes this case stand out from other such unsolved killings is the fact that, indisputably, various forces of the state have collaborated  in ensuring that those who killed Cllr Kelly would escape justice. 

As solicitor for the Kelly family, I can attest to the massive cover-up which arguably swung into action and has remained in place to this day, since  immediately after the murder.

At the Inquest in 1975 a crucial piece of forensic evidence was withheld by the RUC – this was the fact that a footprint matching army issue boots had been found at the spot where Cllr Kelly was abducted. Only in very recent years has this information come to light. When pressed on the issue the excuse given by police was that it had been overlooked to include this in the inquest depositions.

Now another piece of critical information about the killing has been found by researcher Ciaran MacAirt within British army records at the Ministry of Defence in London – this is that two days after Cllr Kelly’s body was found weighted down with two 50 pound weights in Lough Eyes some 15 miles away from where he was abducted, the British army found 95 bullets in Lough Eyes. Among  these bullets were a number matching the calibre of those used in the killing of Cllr Kelly.

It truly beggars belief that police at the time did not follow up on this important evidence. But what is even worse is that police, including the PSNI have to this day withheld this evidence from the Kelly family. There can be no credible explanation other than that this non-disclosure was deliberate.

How can the Kelly family, or the public at large,  be expected to respect a policing system which has purposely placed the protection of the state killers of a husband and father above the interests of justice?

These are serious questions which will not go away. There must be a Public Inquiry if there is to be any chance of the reputation of our policing system being salvaged.

Omagh, Co Tyrone


Kudos to Patrick Murphy for telling it like it is

Patrick Murphy (November 10) penned a column about the First World War. Although I rarely agree with Mr Murphy’s positioning on Irish affairs, I must commend him for that particular piece of writing.

The ‘Great’ War was anything but. It was an unnecessary slaughter of the gullible; an imperial debacle that hoodwinked a multitude into giving their precious lives to appease the bloated egos of a callous few. Redmond’s Volunteers were fools, brave fools but fools nonetheless. It’s sickening to realise how courageous Irishmen died fighting on behalf of the foreign government that was at that time oppressing the Irish people and in brutal occupation of Irish land.

Redmond called upon Irishmen to  ‘... risk their lives together and spill their blood together’. He did so from the safety of his ivory tower. Although his bother, Willie, died in Flanders, Redmond faced no danger, but the blood of thousands lay upon his soft hands. His futile attempts to ingratiate himself with the English establishment is indicative of the colonial conditioning that existed then, and exists today in the Free State as evidenced by the grovelling approach of southern ministers to WW1 events. Neither Redmond nor Coveney seem to have heard of Perfidious Albion.

There was nothing honourable or laudable in giving your life to put a smirk of the faces of generals, or the financial elite who controlled them. Today, a cult of specious reasoning has formed around this dirty historical conflict. Perhaps young men and women are again being insidiously conditioned to prepare for a terrible war. Global warmongers appear to be prepping us for such.

Yet, as John-Paul Sartre said, ‘When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die’.
So kudos to Patrick Murphy for telling it like it is, on this occasion.

Newry, Co Down 


Austerity not mentioned in DUP report

Last week the DUP published a ‘Hope for Every Child’ report, essentially a subject review of existing literature on the issue of adverse childhood experiences.

I am delighted to see the DUP Policy Unit focus on equality of opportunity for our young people.

However, the DUP Policy Unit has failed to consider the causes of adverse childhood experiences. Specifically, there is a complete absence of discussion around the accepted link between poverty and declining mental health, austerity and the impact of this on our children.

Austerity, poverty, poor mental health, drug and alcohol abuse and adverse childhood experiences are all interlinked.

Austerity is not mentioned at all in the DUP report while poverty is mentioned only once. There are 444,000 children in Northern Ireland and 103,400 of these children live in poverty.

Struggles for families will intensify when the full force of welfare reform hits home.

The DUP is propping up the Tories as the most callous, austerity focussed government in history.

Last month 10 MPs voted to stop the release of reports which would show the true and  devastating impact of Universal Credit.

There cannot be ‘Hope for Every Child’ while the DUP props up a Tory government intent on punishing the ost marginalised in our society.

Green Party, Ards and North
Down Borough Council


Venerable  president

In an age in Ireland when men of eminence are as rare as a book on Chinese comedians it is gratifying to know that there is an exception in the form of the president of Ireland Michael D Higgins.

At the age of 77 he has a hiker’s obvious health, a downright manner, an exuberant curiosity and the sort of twinkle that puts one in mind of a country doctor with his spirit boosting responsiveness that should work cures on our political malingerers. He looks amiable and speaks with a vigorous flair bringing insight to appreciation. His inauguration speech was a classic. The state sponsored event and the excellent RTÉ telecast was befitting for a President who comes under the consideration of venerable.

Derry City


Dublin more British than the north

The lead up to the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day has led me to conclude, once and for all, that Dublin is more British than Northern Ireland.

Every time I frequent ‘The Pale’, I see a city which has become more like Birmingham than Belfast, more like Cardiff than Cork and more like Glasgow than Galway. The population has become so multinational, you’d be forgiven to think it was London. 

Also, who are providing the jobs in Dublin? Google, Facebook, Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc.

The ‘rare old times’ are now just a distant memory.

If anything, it should be nationalists saying, ‘No Dublin Rule’.

Ardboe, Co Tyrone

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