Northern Ireland news

Family of UDA victim Micky Gilbride call for publication of Operation Achille report

Micky Gilbride with Roseann
Connla Young

THE family of a Catholic man murdered by the UDA has called for a stalled Police Ombudsman report to be published.

Micky Gilbride was shot dead as he visited his parents' home in south Belfast in November 1992.

Roseann Gilbride Clinton, speaking for the first time since the murder, last night described the family's grief on what would have been her former husband's 65th birthday.

She said they have concerns about collusion, having learned several years ago that those involved in her former husband's murder may have worked for RUC special branch.

Mrs Gilbride Clinton has now called for a Police Ombudsman's report into a series of murders linked to the UDA in south Belfast to be published.

Operation Achille focuses on the killings of five men at Sean Graham's bookmakers on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast in 1992 and six other murders, including that of Mr Gilbride, also from the Ormeau Road.

Publication of the report was held up in 2019 after it emerged that information previously undisclosed to the ombudsman had been found on PSNI computers.

Mrs Gilbride Clinton is now married to Jim Clinton, whose wife Theresa was also shot dead by the UDA at her home in the Ormeau Road area on April 14 1994 - 27 years ago yesterday.

She said that her family wants the report published.

"We have waited patiently for years with the promise that they'd get the truth about the collusion in the murder and yet that report is completed and for some reason remains under lock and key."

She said they owe a debt to Mr Gilbride's memory.

"We've never given up on truth, justice and accountability for what happened and we never will," she said.

To mark Mr Gilbride's 65th birthday his nephew Conor released a moving new song about his uncle.

Mrs Gilbride Clinton said it is a fitting tribute.

"He is sorely missed," she said.

"He lost out on his children growing up into beautiful adults, important birthdays, marriages, births of grandchildren and family occasions where his loss was felt even more so."

A case taken by his family was due for mention at a Belfast court yesterday.

The family's solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said continued delays are "retraumatising" for families.

Mark Thompson from Relatives for Justice said the "integrity and dignity of the Gilbride family stands in stark contrast to how they've been treated in their quest for truth and accountability by those in authority and with responsibility for addressing legacy".

Detective Superintendent Stephen Wright said: “This murder of Michael Gilbride sits within the workload of the Legacy Investigation Branch for future review, however, regrettably we are unable to say when this review will start.

“As there are ongoing legal proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time.”

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman said: "The completion of the report remains a priority for the Police Ombudsman and we are actively progressing work in preparation for its publication."

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