The son of Nationalist Councillor Patsy Kelly – who was murdered almost 50 years ago – has said the feeling of “vindication” is still sinking in, one week on from a damning report from the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland into the investigation of his father’s murder.

Last Wednesday, the Ombudsman stated the investigation into Mr. Kelly’s murder was indicative of “collusive behaviour”.

The Omagh District Councillor was last seen leaving the Corner Bar in Trillick in the early hours of July 24, 1974.

His body was found in Lough Eyes, near Lisbellaw, three weeks later on August 10. He had been shot six times.

No one has ever been charged or prosecuted over the murder.

Mr. Kelly’s family believed the killing was perpetrated by members of an Army patrol.

READ MORE: Family of Trillick Councillor murdered in 1974 calls for fresh inquest

Reflecting on the report from last week, Mr. Kelly’s son, Patsy Jnr., said: “It’s a week, seven days later now, and you know, the feelings of vindication are beginning to sink in so much more.

“It really is the best description. It’s been a whirlwind, having received the report and digesting the contents of the report, which we’re all still doing, reading and re-reading and going through every detail, and trying to digest everything and take it all in.

“That feeling of vindication is certainly sinking in more.”

Patsy Jnr. said the report was “far-reaching and wide-ranging” in its detail, covering everything from the failure to verify UDR alibis up to investigative evidential leads that were never followed “such as the boat at Lough Eyes, the fingerprints and the footwear marks”.

He continued: “The non-dissemination of intelligence ... It is all of them together creates an overall picture that is damning in the extreme.”

Impartial Reporter: Patsy Kelly.Patsy Kelly.

And it is all of this that shows how the Kelly family have been let down from the very beginning.

“My father always said he would only ever stop for someone in a uniform, because he would carry the takings from the pub home with him at night.”

Patsy Jnr. says this was in comparison to how badly he and the family have been let down by men in uniforms, in terms of the British Army and RUC, around his father’s murder, before adding how the community had been let down as well.

“The community in Trillick – everything that’s in the report there, in terms of security force involvement, the community have always believed that and known that as well.”

Patsy Jnr. paid tribute to the support he and his family have received from the community in their search for justice, as well as the work of solicitor, the late Pat Fahy, who was a friend of his father, and also the support from his mother and father’s family circle.

“The unseen support that they provided to my mother and to us growing up was just amazing, because they were living in an environment where fear was rife.

“My father, as an Independent councillor, he was just trying to make life better for the area, for the people of the area.

“His murder was designed to strike fear into the hearts of the local community.

“The local community responded to that attack [as also being] on them because they had democratically elected him to serve as their representative on the Council.

“When he was murdered, their response to that [was] instead of being fearful and cowering, they came out in their droves and searched for him.”

Impartial Reporter: Patsy Kelly Jnr. holds a picture of his father Patsy, with his mother, Theresa, holding a copy of the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland's report in Mr. Kelly's murder in 1974. Photo by John McVitty.Patsy Kelly Jnr. holds a picture of his father Patsy, with his mother, Theresa, holding a copy of the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland's report in Mr. Kelly's murder in 1974. Photo by John McVitty.

The next step the Kelly family want is a fresh inquest into the murder; however, there has been no word on when or if this will happen.

And Patsy Jnr. also acknowledged that an investigation like this could be one of the last if the highly-controversial Legacy Bill is passed at Westminster.

He said: “It’s just absolutely inhumane to think that that the Legacy Bill could shut down those avenues for truth from families.

“It just cannot be. It’s self-serving for the Tory government [to potentially pass the Bill]. It’s not going to do anything for reconciliation. It’s not going to do anything for resolution with the past for people here.”