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29 May 1997 Edition

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Back issue: Loyalists kill Tyrone man

The County Tyrone nationalist shot dead by the UDA on Saturday was apparently set up by the RUC, who wrongly believed he was a member of Sinn Féin or a party worker.

Dermot Hackett, of Braehill Park, Castlederg, was ambushed and shot dead shortly before 9am as he drove his bread van along the Drumquin to Omagh Road.

The loyalist murder gang had repeatedly fired through the driver's door of his van. At least 16 empty shell cases were recovered from the scene.

The loyalist gang apparently made its getaway in a beige Opel Manta car which had been stolen earlier and which was later found abandoned nearby.

Dermott Hackett (37) was married with a 9-year-old daughter. His wife, Sylvia, is expecting their second child.

Responsibility for his assassination was swiftly claimed on behalf of the Ulster Freedom Fighters, a flag of convenience for the UDA.

A particularly sinister aspect of the murder was that Dermot Hackett, a former area president of the St Vincent de Paul Society and a well-known local musician, was apparently believed by the RUC to be a member of Sinn Féin or a party election worker.

No more than an hour after the shooting, the RUC was telling journalists that the victim was a ``Sinn Féin member''.

Before his death, Hackett suffered regular harassment by the crown forces. For example, he was frequently stopped five times on the same road while doing his bread deliveries.

Sean Begley, Sinn Féin's Mid-Ulster representative, and Charlie McHugh, Sinn Féin's local councillor and a close neighbour of the dead man,d directly accused the RUC or UDR of involvement,tn in Dermot Hackett's murder. They firmly rejected any suggestion that Dermot Hackett had any connections with the Republican Movement. Sean Begley said: ``While republicans would not expect DUP MP Willie McCrea to condemn or be concerned about the assassination of republicans, the fact remains that he has remained silent about the killing of a completely uninvolved Catholic. Quite obviously, Mr McCrea detects, like Sinn Féin, the hand of the RUC or UDR in his killing and this explains his silence.''

An Phoblacht 28 May 1987

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