29 June 2006 Edition

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State complicit in UVF killings

BY Aran Foley

The families of victims of a 12-year murder campaign that saw 29 people killed and no one convicted of the murders have condemned the PSNI's inability or unwillingness to secure convictions. There is a widespread belief amongst the families that the lack of convictions has to do with the complicity of state agents in the killings.

The murder victims include Andrew Robb, CiarĂ¡n Cummings, Craig McCausland, David McIlwaine, Jameson Lochart and 15-year-old schoolboy Thomas Devlin who was stabbed to death in Belfast.

Speaking on 23 June, Raymond McCord whose son, Raymond Jr was murdered by state agents in the UVF in 1997 said he is convinced the organisation is state-run.

"If this was England or the South there would be calls for the Chief Constable's and the Home Secretary's heads. There should be a public inquiry into why nobody has been convicted.

There is no indication of any willingness on the part of the PSNI to catch these people he said. The claims concur with those of former RUC man Jonty Brown. Brown claims the British could have put the majority of the perpetrators in jail between 1997 and 1999. "Lives would have been saved", he said.

In another development a Freedom of Information request by the newspaper Daily Ireland requesting information on how many people have been questioned in relation to these murders has been turned down by the PSNI on the grounds that digging out the information would cost too much and that the details are not in the public interest. Raymond McCord says that the PSNI silence speaks volumes. "It casts a light on what they were doing" he said adding that it showed that the UVF was being protected.

The Police Ombudsman's office is nearing the end of a three-year investigation dealing with allegations of British state collusion with the UVF and a report is expected to be issued before the end of the summer.

Meanwhile Daily Ireland are to refer the turning down of their FOI request to the Information Commissioner.

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