Northern Ireland

GAA president Jarlath Burns to attend key Sean Brown inquest hearing

State agents lined to Co Derry clubman’s 1997 murder

Murdered GAA official Sean Brown
Murdered GAA official Sean Brown Murdered GAA official Sean Brown

The new president of the GAA Jarlath Burns is set to attend a crunch inquest hearing into the murder of Sean Brown on Monday.

Relatives and supporters of the Brown family were left reeling last week after it emerged that more than 25 individuals - including state agents - have been linked by intelligence to Mr Brown’s brutal murder.

Coroner Patrick Kinney will rule on Monday what material can be considered in open court and if the inquest can proceed.

Mr Brown’s family and legal team have called for a full public inquiry, which must be agreed by the Secretary of State, into the circumstances of Mr Brown’s death.

Whether Mr Kinney supports that call remains to be seen.

A father-of-six, Mr Brown was attacked, beaten and abducted by a LVF gang as he locked the gates at Bellaghy Wolfe Tones GAC, Co Derry, in May 1997.

After being bundled into the boot of his own car, he was taken to a country lane outside Randalstown, Co Antrim, where he was shot six times.

Collusion has always been suspected in the brutal murder and no-one has ever been charged.

A suspect in the murder was believed to be a serving member of the Royal Irish Regiment, a previous inquest hearing has heard.

It has also emerged that another suspect held a personal protection weapon and was regularly visited by a police officer at his home.

High profile members of the GAA have previously offered their support to the Brown family, including outgoing GAA president Larry McCarthy.

GAA president Jarlath Burns

Mr Burns, who is a clubman with Silverbridge Harps, in south Armagh, has also added his voice to the Brown family’s campaign for justice.

“This is a GAA campaign for justice for that family,” he said.

In recent weeks a series of closed hearings have been held to consider public interest immunity (PII) applications.

PII certificates are used by state agencies to withhold information they do not want the public to see.

Mr Brown’s daughter Siobhan Brown has said it is important to establish how many of the more than 25 linked individuals were, or are, serving members of the PSNI, British army or civilian staff.

When asked, neither the PSNI or Ministry of Defence responded directly.