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31 August 2000 Edition

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Stoneyford Mark II

Sinn Féin's South Down Assembly member Mick Murphy says that over the last two weeks he has learned that files compiled by British intelligence containing the details of more than 80 nationalists have fallen into the hands of loyalist death squads.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, 29 August, Murphy, joined by West Belfast Assembly member Alex Maskey and South Down councillor Frank McDowell, one of those on the list, revealed that, two weeks on, the RUC have only informed around 15 people of the threat to their lives.

The similarity between this situation and that surrounding the files found at Stoneyford Orange Hall were not lost on Murphy. ``What is clear here is that this information was compiled by British intelligence sources and has been passed by these sources to loyalist murder gangs.

``This episode raises serious issues. Collusion has clearly not ended. This find comes close on the heels of the Stoneyford Orange Hall incident. As is still the case with Stoneyford, those on the list do not know who compiled this information, who passed it on to loyalists and who is now in possession of it, and the RUC are doing as little as possible to alleviate this situation.

``What is extremely worrying, and clearly highlights the collusion between the RUC, judiciary and loyalist death squads, is that the man who was found in possession of these files was inexplicably released without charge.''

Highlighting the collusion issue, Murphy said: ``In the last 12 months, unprecedented numbers of people have been made aware of the fact that their lives have been endangered because of leaked British intelligence information. We can no longer be expected to believe that this circumstance has come about through careless housekeeping. It is clearly evident that there are those within the RUC and the British military establishment who have established a conveyor belt flow of information on nationalists to loyalist death squads and are working to a sinister agenda.''

All those taking part in the press conference were clear that the history of collusion throughout the Six Counties, exacerbated by the way the RUC have handled this and like instances, serves as a reminder that this discredited force can have no role to play in future investigations.
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