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30 September 1999 Edition

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O'Neill family demands inquiry

A vigil was held at St Martin in the Field, Trafalgar Square, London on Thursday, 23 September, to mark the third anniversary of the shooting dead of unarmed IRA Volunteer Diarmuid O'Neill. The following is the text of a statement issued by the Justice for Diarmuid O'Neill Campaign and the O'Neill family in which they reiterate their demands for a full independent public inquiry into Diarmuid's killing.

It has been three years since Diarmuid O'Neill was shot and killed in Hammersmith by police officers from the Metropolitan Police firearms squad SO19 acting on behalf of the British security services. In that three years, we have witnessed the Police Complaints Authority, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office continually act in a manner to cover up Diarmuid's murder and to hide the truth from coming into the public domain.

The Police Complaints Authority took some two years to produce a report that still remains secret. This report was written with evidence produced by an investigation undertaken by officers from the same police force that shot Diarmuid. An investigation that took 23 months to interview for the first time the officer who actually pulled the trigger. The Crown Prosecution Service then took seven months to read this report and decide that no charges should be brought against any officer.

Now, three years later, the family and friends of Diarmuid still await the re-opening of the inquest into Diarmuid's killing. It is clear that Diarmuid was shot as part of a deliberate shoot to kill policy that has been covered up by the so-called British justice system.

If the Good Friday Agreement is to yield a peace in Ireland and a future in which British troops are removed, then there must be a settling of the injustices of the past. The British governemnt must come clean on its dirty war and its involvement in the death of Diarmuid O'Neill. The British Prime Minister and Home Secretary should sanction an independent public inquiry so that justice can be done and be seen to be done. Anything less is a continuation of the policy that has led the death of Diarmuid and will lead to the death of others.

The Justice for Diarmuid O'Neill Campaign will continue to fight for the truth about Diarmuid's killing and for an independent public inquiry. Not just to achieve justice for Diarmuid but also because the outcome of the campaign is intertwined with the struggle of the Irish people for equality, democracy and human rights.
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