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8 October 1998 Edition

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Relatives demand truth from NIO

By Ned Kelly

Relatives of nine men murdered by the SAS in May 1987 in Loughgall met with two NIO civil servants on Monday to make a submission to the Victims Liaison Unit on behalf of the Loughgall Truth and Justice Campaign.

Central to the submission was the demand for truth and recognition. After the meeting, Roisín Kelly, whose brother Patrick Kelly was killed at Loughgall, said, ``we met to clarify the remit of the unit and to push for a recognition of our loss and grief. In the Loughgall incident children were left without fathers. We advocated an educational trust fund and funding for a respite centre.''

The call for support for survivors and relatives bereaved by state violence was underscored by the demand for fair and equal treatment including equal access to information at inquests and funding to pursue legal avenues in the domestic and European courts.

Roisin Kelly said that ``during the meeting the group pressed for truth, the imperative was that survivors and relatives bereaved by state violence be included''.

Kelly said she was left with the feeling that the NIO felt ``truth wasn't always the right thing to do''.

During the meeting one of the civil servants, Billy Stevenson, said that truth had to come from both sides and claimed that the Bloomfield Commission on victims had included them in its work. Ms Kelly said the families had to remind the NIO man, ``that my brother could not answer as he has been killed by the state and that the Relatives for Justice had to demand a meeting with Bloomfield's Commission''.
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