18 March 2004 Edition

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Support for family of Gervaise McKerr

Upper Bann Sinn Féin Assembly member John O'Dowd has reiterated his party's support for the family of Gervaise McKerr and their calls for a full independent inquiry into shoot-to-kill incidents in North Armagh in the 1980s.

The family of Gervaise McKerr last week lost a court bid in the House of Lords to force the British Government to carry out an inquiry into his killing.

Gervaise McKerr was shot and killed by the RUC along with Eugene Toman and Sean Burns in November 1982. They were unarmed yet more than 100 rounds were fired into the car they were travelling in.

Three years ago in a landmark legal victory the European Court demanded that a proper investigation into the circumstances of these killings and other state murders be carried out. The British Government have repeatedly refused to give effect to this judgement.

"Because of this the McKerr family have been forced to go to the House of Lords. Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, the British House of Lords have today rejected their appeal," said Dowd.

"It is disgraceful that the McKerr family will now be forced into further legal action. It is likely that they will be forced to take this case back to the European Court.

"The British government need to end their policy of concealment and need to face up to the legacy left by the policy of state sanctioned and state supported murder."


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