Northern Ireland news

Security force members will not take part in Glenanne Gang probe

Jon Boutcher
Connla Young

NO members or former members of the security forces will sit on an independent review panel examining the activities of a loyalist killer gang.

Former Bedfordshire Police chief constable Jon Boutcher will lead the review into the Glenanne Gang, who are believed to have killed up to 120 Catholics in the 1970s. The gang included members of the RUC, UDR and UVF.

The probe comes after the Court of Appeal in Belfast ruled last year that bereaved relatives were being denied their legitimate expectation that an independent police team would oversee an investigation.

A draft Historical Enquiries Team report into the gang’s activities was said to have been 80 per cent complete before being halted in 2010.

The terms of reference for the review have been revealed. The review team “will not include any personnel who are serving or have previously served in the Royal Ulster Constabulary or PSNI, the Ministry of Defence or HM Armed Forces or any of the security or intelligence services”.

It will undertake a comprehensive process of obtaining information and materials held by the PSNI, other agencies and bereaved families.

The review will produce a report setting out “the origins, composition, activities and accomplices of the Glenanne Gang”.

It will include the finding in each case found to fall within the Glenanne series and “any deficiencies in any previous investigations into or official responses to each of those cases” along with the “extent of state collusion”.

Eugene Reavey, whose three brothers were murdered by the gang in 1976, welcomed the development.

“I hope they push on now because it’s the only show in town,” he said.

His solicitor, Darragh Mackin of Phoenix Law, said: “The fact the independent investigation is to commence is going to be welcomed by all the families.”

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Northern Ireland news