The murder of a Fermanagh man almost 50 years ago is to be investigated by the Office of the Police Ombudsman (OPONI).

Jim Murphy was murdered on April 20, 1974 near Derrylin.

His niece, Joan Corrigan, raised a formal complaint with OPONI in 2022 stating failures of historic police investigations, including those by the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and the Historical Enquiries Team.

Mr. Murphy owned a garage in an isolated area called Corraveigha, Derrylin, when he was shot dead.

While the murder is to be investigated, Miss Corrigan said she was informed by OPONI that it would not be until April, 2027 at the earliest, due to a lack of resources and a backlog of 238 legacy cases.

“My uncle Jim was a quiet, well-known and well respected man, much loved by his family and a respected member of the local community in Derrylin.

“He was a member of Fermanagh Civil Rights Association and worked for basic human rights.

“Whilst I welcome an investigation by the Office of the Police Ombudsman, it is disgraceful that the date given is 2027.

“Next year will see the 50th anniversary of my uncle Jim’s murder, and Jim will still be denied any measure of justice,” she added.

Paper Trail, a charity that works with victims and survivors of The Troubles, sourced newspaper reports and secret British Army files from the National Archives in London relating to the murder.

Ciarán MacAirt of Paper Trail said: “Justice delayed is justice denied, and it is shameful that any family has to wait so long for a proper investigation to commence.

“Whist the British authorities are starving OPONI of resources to investigate legacy cases, the Tories are legislating their pernicious Legacy Bill which will deny families like the victims’ equal access to due process of the law.”

Miss Corrigan felt strongly that as Jim himself was a campaigner for truth and justice, “he deserved my efforts to bring attention to this travesty”.

She continued: “Despite the current circumstances, I feel encouraged that I have achieved this small step towards justice for a wonderful man so loved by so many.”

A spokesperson for OPONI confirmed they had received a complaint about the death of Mr. Murphy.

“The case has been considered under the Office’s prioritisation policy and is currently pended, awaiting investigation when resources allow.

“Given the large number of historical complaints which have been made to the Office, and our limited investigative resources for such cases, we do not anticipate that we will be able to commence this investigation before April, 2027.

“However, as currently drafted, the Northern Ireland (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill 2022-2023, if enacted, will cause all Police Ombudsman historical investigations to cease.”