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1 July 1999 Edition

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Kielty murder raises collusion questions

By Pádraig MacDabhaid

Top Irish comedian Patrick Kielty may sue Belfast morning newspaper the Newsletter for defamation of character after it claimed that his murdered father was an IRA suspect.

Lawyers for Patrick Kielty have written to the paper claiming that the article defamed him by implying that he supported republican military activity. They are now pressing for a retraction of the story and an apology.

The Mirror owned Newsletter claimed in a recent story that it received crown forces intelligence documents dating back to 1978 showing that murdered Catholic businessman Jack Kielty was an IRA suspect.

The UDA, who killed 44-year-old Kielty in 1988, claimed that he was an active member of the IRA's South Down Brigade, a claim which has been rubbished by all who knew him.

The Newsletter claimed that British intelligence files showing pictures of Kielty and five other suspected IRA members were passed to them by a former high ranking British Army officer who served in the Six Counties in the 1980s. They also claim to have received RUC intelligence files.

Earlier in the year, the Newsletter reported that it had received British intelligence documents which identified people it claimed were responsible for killing ten people in Whitecross, South Armagh in 1975. A week later, the DUP's Ian Paisley - apparently using similar documents - used parliamentary privilege to name the same South Armagh men as the ``Whitecross killers''. The move was attacked by Dublin Foreign Minister David Andrews as it ``put innocent people's lives in danger''.

It would appear that these documents were of the same type supplied to loyalists by a British agent in 1988. The man who killed Kielty is now believed to have close links with the Orange Volunteers and the Red Hand Defenders.

When Paisley named the men, there was widespread fear that their lives were endangered.

Now the same type of documents are passing in the same circles with the apparent aim of justifying the murder of an innocent man which took place through collusion.

This raises many questions. Did the same person, who supplied both the Newsletter and Ian Paisley, also supply loyalists such as James Anderson with the personal details of over 150 Belfast nationalists and Republicans? Some of the information on Anderson's list dated back to the late 1970s. It took the RUC almost three months to alert those 150 nationalists and republicans that their details were in the hands of loyalists. Have the RUC told those whose pictures were published in the Newsletter that their details are in the public domain? Questions must also be asked about the role of the media in covering such allegations against nationalist collusion victims.
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