Northern Ireland news

Amnesty backs Patrick Corrigan after criticism by retired police officers

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International pictured with journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey as they speak with David Davis MP outside Belfast High Court.

Amnesty International have said it fully supports comments made by Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan about police handling of the Loughinisland case, despite criticism from the Northern Ireland Retired Police Officers' Association (NIRPOA).

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: "The families of the Loughinisland victims have yet to see the killers of their loved ones held to account.

"Amnesty International UK will continue to support them and other families' campaigns for truth and justice. The trauma and the pain they have suffered is unacceptable, and nothing should be allowed to distract from that".

Raymond Fitzsimmons of NIRPOA which represents 3,500 retired officers called on Amnesty to retract what he called "highly offensive comments" by Mr Corrigan who had said "police were helping killers evade justice".

"The association would like to know whether this untrue and libellous slur represents the official position of Amnesty International UK", he added.

Mr Corrigan was speaking about the case involving journalists Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney who were arrested last August on warrants that were quashed by the High Court last week.

Ms Allen said; "Amnesty International UK fully supports the remarks made by Patrick Corrigan, our Northern Ireland Programme Director, in relation to the police investigation into journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey.

"The report by the Police Ombudsman into the Loughinisland massacre noted that there was, undeniably, significant wrongdoing by the RUC following the murder of six innocent men by the UVF in 1994".

Ms Allen said that Amnesty were "concerned " to only received the letter after its contents had already been reported by the media.

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