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9 March 2000 Edition

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RUC wait five months to warn Hartley

Sinn Féin councillor Tom Hartley has criticised the RUC and accused them of ``deliberately and maliciously'' endangering his life over its handling of British military security files found in an Orange Hall last October.

The Lower Falls representative was informed only last Thursday, 2 March, that his details were among the 300 military documents which had been stored by Orange Volunteer members at Stoneyford Orange Hall outside Belfast. At the time of the discovery, the RUC were accused of putting the lives of hundreds of nationalists at risk by not notifying those whose names were on the loyalist death list to inform them of the danger. The information found in the files had been described by the media as up to date and extensive. Some are believed to be British Army files compiled as recently as 1997. Details included names and addresses, car registrations, 70 photographs and maps giving the inside layout of homes. The 300 files target people from as far apart as South Armagh and Belfast.

``The RUC have known this information for months but chose not to inform me. They deliberately and maliciously endangered my life,'' Hartley said. ``The RUC cannot hide behind any excuses on this issue. They know who I am and where to contact me. How many more people have the RUC not told?''

Following the discovery of the loyalist cache in Stoneyford, a number of Orangemen were arrested and so far two people have been charged in connection with the find.
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