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8 March 2007 Edition

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Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2007 : Spotlight on collusion

Amanda Fullerton addressing the 2007 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis

Amanda Fullerton addressing the 2007 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis

When those who make the law break the law, there is no law

Amanda Fullerton, daughter of assassinated Sinn Féin Councillor Eddie Fullerton, was given a hugely warm welcome at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis last weekend.
In May 1991, unionist paramilitaries broke into Eddie Fullerton’s home at Buncrana, County Donegal, and shot him dead in front of his wife Dina. He had served the people of Inishowen and Buncrana for 12 years as a County Councillor and an Urban District Councillor. He died immediately. The assassins made their getaway across the border to Culmore Point in Derry.
There have long been serious allegations that the murder was a result of collusion between British forces and unionist paramilitaries.
Serious questions have also arisen about the role played by the Gardaí prior to the murder and the flawed investigation that followed.
Amanda Fullerton told the Ard Fheis on Saturday that in June 2003, the Eddie Fullerton Justice Committee presented a memorandum outlining its key concerns to the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell.
“In response, the Minister sanctioned an investigative review, headed by a senior Garda official. After three years, on 31 August 2006, a report on the preliminary findings of the investigative review was produced which failed to address our key concerns, and attempted to disregard the key witness evidence. Crucially, the report was significantly devoid of any reference to the central issue: why over the years have An Garda Síochána and the RUC/PSNI never conducted a proper and thorough cross-jurisdictional investigation into the murder of Sinn Féin Councillor Eddie Fullerton?” Amanda Fullerton said.
She went on: “The report did, however, reveal to us for the first time crucial evidence that had been known all along by the RUC: that forensic examinations had linked the guns used in the murder of Eddie Fullerton to 13 subsequent murders, for which there had been convictions. Crucially, by the end of August 2006, neither police force had questioned those convicted in relation to the murder of Eddie Fullerton.
“In November 2006, the Chief Ombudsman’s Office for Northern Ireland sanctioned an investigation into the role played by the RUC/PSNI in relation to the murder of Eddie Fullerton. That investigation is currently underway.”

Also in November 2006, more than 15 years after the murder, the Fullerton family met with An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to discuss a range of concerns. Significantly, at that meeting Mr Ahern agreed to make representations to the British Prime Minister and appropriate Six County officials, requesting maximum co-operation on the part of the PSNI and northern authorities in relation to investigations ongoing in both jurisdictions.
“Recently my mother Dina wrote to the British Prime Minister, again outlining our key concerns and requesting his support in relation to both ongoing investigations. A response has now been received, informing that the Prime Minister is arranging for a Minister in the NI Office to reply directly.”
On where the campaign for justice goes now, Amanda Fullerton told the Ard Fheis that in light of emerging evidence of widespread collusion in the assassination of republicans throughout the conflict, the Eddie Fullerton Justice Committee awaits a formal response from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the NIO, as well as the outcome of investigations north and south.
The Fullertons have major reservations about any inquiry that is not conducted by an agency independent of the Gardaí, and are seeking a transparent public inquiry, spanning both jurisdictions and with international oversight.
Amanda told the Ard Fheis that the campaign spokesperson, her brother Albert, was tragically killed a year ago, but that he would not want the family or their supporters to be complacent.
“When the authorities of one state plan the assassination of a democratically-elected public representative within another state, what is really under attack are the people and the very foundation of democracy,” Fullerton said.
She said that the challenge for Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair was to redress the atrocities carried out as a result of collusion.
“When those who make the law break the law, then there is no law,” she said.

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