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3 December 1998 Edition

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RUC complicity in killings

By Peadar Whelan

The RUC's complicity in the loyalist killings of eleven nationalists earlier this year was exposed during inquests last Friday into the killing of two of the dead men, Terry Enright and Edmund Treanor.

At Mr Enright's inquest an RUC inspector admitted for the first time that the gun used in the killing belonged to a member of the crown forces. The inspector claimed it had been stolen.

At Mr Treanor's inquest an RUC man said he thought the UDA, not the LVF, was responsible for the attack on the Clifton Tavern that left Treanor dead and six other people wounded.

At the time the LVF claimed responsibility but it was widely believed that the UDA were responsible, not least because the killers' getaway car was hi-jacked in the Lower Shankill, a known UDA stronghold.

After Terry Enright was shot dead in the early hours of Sunday 11 January, An Phoblacht reported that the RUC may have had prior knowledge of a loyalist attack in the area of the Space Club, owned by PUP leader David Ervine's sister-in-law, where Mr Enright was working as a doorman.

We reported that a person present at the scene of the killing overheard a senior RUC man say to a member of staff at the nightclub that ``we were told something was going to happen''.

However it is the issue of ballistic evidence that is the most contentious. Despite calls from Sinn Fein, the RUC refused to disclose the ballistic history of the weapons used in the attacks.

As the gun used to kill Mr Enright was registered to a member of the crown forces the RUC would have had that information.

When a weapon is issued through the RUC it is test fired so that its specific characteristics are recorded and kept on file. This information is easily accessible to the RUC yet it took them ten months to make a disclosure.

During the loyalist murder campaign that saw eleven Catholics killed, the RUC at no time used either the circumstantial evidence or the available ballistic evidence to identify the killers.

In a statement Gerry Adams said: ``The revelation [that the gun belonged to a member of the crown forces] is only a partial uncovering of the truth. I will be pursuing this matter and demanding to know from which branch of the crown forces this weapon was taken and indeed whether the RUC was aware the weapon was missing. For many years we have witnessed collusion between the RUC and loyalist death squads. Friday's revelation follows on from the Nelson case and other documented incidents of collusion.''

Following the inquest revelation, Terry Enright senior said of his son's death, ``nothing can replace my son, but this points out how ludicrous the whole decommissioning issue is. If people are determined to kill the availability of weapons is not an issue. We could be so much further on if it wasn't for all this nonsense about decommissioning.''
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