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25 November 1999 Edition

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RUC survey adds insult to injury

Christine Devenney, daughter of Sammy Devenney, who died after being attacked in his home by the RUC in 1969, says that she is ``sick to her stomach'' after receiving a survey from the RUC asking her for her views on policing.

Sammy Devenney, who died three months after being severely beaten by the RUC, is widely acknowledged as the first person to die during the present phase of the war.

Devenney was standing outside his Bogside home waiting on his children returning home when he was attacked. RUC men forced him into his house and beat him and members of his family.

No RUC officer has ever been charged in connection with his murder.

Christine Devenney explained that the first thing she saw when she opened the envelope containing the survey was the RUC crest.

``I was just sick to my stomach and my first reaction was to throw the whole thing in a bin,'' she said. ``However, after discussing this with my family I decided to write an open letter to the head of the RUC here letting him know exactly how I feel. In many ways sending this survey is just adding insult to injury.

``When my father died we never heard from the RUC, so they have a brass neck contacting me now. At the end of the day myself and many others like me simply have no faith in the RUC as a police force.''

In her letter of reply to RUC Superintendent Peter Sheridan, she wrote: ``Your survey asks what policing tasks and priorities should be? Do you seriously expect the family of Sammy Devenney to assist you in setting priorities when members of the RUC beat our father to death, blocked the investigation and covered up his murder?''

Devenney wrote that the first priority of the RUC should be ``to root out those responsible for serious human rights violations over the past 30 years''.

She also attacked the content of the questionnaire itself saying ``You ask about domestic violence, muggings and domestic burglary. Which of these categories fits the attack on our father?

``A group of thugs in uniform break into our home, assault a number of adults and children and leave.

``You ask whether we feel safe in our homes? Not since 1969, Mr Sheridan.''
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