Families ‘shocked’ at Larkin’s proposal to end inquiries

Published: 28 Nov 2013 14:000 comments

FAMILIES of loved ones killed during the Troubles have reacted strongly to comments made by Attorney General, John Larkin last week that there should be no more inquests or prosecutions prior to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Attorney General John Larkin.

Mr Larkin has submitted that his proposal to put an end to police investigations, inquests and inquiries associated with Troubles-related killings before 1998 is a logical consequence of the Agreement.

But families believe their “basic human right” to a justice pathway would be denied if the recommendation was approved.

“Shocked” by the suggestion, the family of murdered Independent Councillor Patsy Kelly say his comments indicated an “unwillingness to deal with delivering truth and justice” for those bereaved by the Troubles.

They add too their belief that “collusion and cover-up” over what happened to Mr Kelly still exists right up to the present day.

The body of Trillick man, Mr Kelly was found in Lough Eyes near Tempo in July 1974.

He went missing after locking up the Corner Bar which he managed in the village.

His body was found three weeks later, weighted down in the lough by two 56lb agricultural weights.

No one was ever charged for his murder.

“Mr Larkin states that with regard to prosecutions that he has “drawn attention to the extreme improbability of criminal proceedings ever taking place” - in our case, that improbability only exists because of the collusive activities of the then RUC and the current day PSNI and HET who continue to prevent the truth about Patsy’s murder being investigated properly,” say his family.

“The Attorney General’s assertion that access of archived documents relating to all murders should be released to families is of little or no value. In our experience, the PSNI and the HET are most adept at spinning the line of lost files, and misplaced documentation, when access to files is sought.”

Reflecting on Mr Larkin’s recommendation, Kenny Donaldson, Director of South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) submits the proposal is another indication that Peace in Northern Ireland “comes at too high a price”.

“Whether or not punitive justice is ever able to be delivered is not the point, the fact is that there are people within this society who exist in a place beyond the reaches of the law is deplorable.

“Those who have had loved ones murdered understand the limitations of sentencing powers - that someone convicted of terrorist offences pre 1998 can only serve a maximum of two years. But for many families that sense of public acknowledgement and of those who dehumanised their neighbours; Protestant, Roman Catholic and Dissenter to the extent of taking their life being held personally accountable for those actions is very important.

“Murder was as wrong in 1972 as it was in recent years.”

Also describing his disappointment, Fermanagh North councillor, Raymond Farrell says justice for those murdered should be continually pursued.

“As one who voted against the Belfast Agreement, including the release of convicted terrorists, I believe that the victims and loved ones of those brutally killed have a right to justice and that these same victims should be seeing comments, statements and indeed actions which encourage them rather than discourage them as did the comments of Mr Larkin.

“Just as Nazi war criminals are actively pursued to this day, so must the perpetrators of the crimes of this county. The law abiding people and victims of Fermanagh, as in other parts of Northern Ireland, put their Trust in the rule of law and believe that justice must be continually pursued to see the murder of their loved ones brought to justice.”

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