Issue 1 - 2023 front

1 October 1998 Edition

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O'Neill family search for justice

By Fern Lane and Roisín McGreevy

Two years after the extra-judicial killing of Diarmuid O'Neill by the Metropolitan police his family are little closer to the independent public inquiry into his death which they are demanding. Indeed, an inquest has still not been held and the Police Complaints Authority report, which was finally promised for August after lengthy delays, has yet to be published.

The family has, however, been encouraged in recent weeks by the affiliation to their campaign of the Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign. Members of the SLFC offered solid and public support to Diarmuid's family in their efforts to secure justice for him at a seminar on state terrorism in August, and during a recent meeting at the campaign HQ with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, dozens of posters demanding an inquiry into Diarmuid's killing were put up around the meeting room.

Siobhan and Shane O'Neill, Diarmuid's sister and brother, together with around 40 friends and Justice for Diarmuid O'Neill Campaign activists, held a candlelit vigil on the steps of St Martin in the Fields Church in central London on 23 September to mark the second anniversary of his killing and to further highlight their demand for an inquiry.

Speaking later, Siobhan O'Neill spoke of the family's determination to see their campaign through.

``It has been two years now since Diarmuid's death, but we are not going to give up on this until we get the result we want. The PCA have finished interviewing all the police officers involved in the raid so it's time we had some answers. It has been very hard on all of us but now that the Stephen Lawrence family Campaign has affiliated to our campaign it is brilliant - it has given us a real boost. We want to thank all our supporters for the work they have done over the past two years; we have felt really encouraged that because of this support, in the end justice will be done.''

Meanwhile in a statement Paul Philippou from the Justice for Diarmuid O'Neill Campaign, has accused the Metropolitan Police of being corrupt and liars. He states that the police ``have repeatedly lied to the family of Diarmuid O'Neill and to members of the press''. The matter has been raised recently in parliament by MP John McDonnell.

Also human rights lawyer Gareth Pierce, at a conference in August, spoke of how a tape recording of the raid on the house, where Diarmuid was killed, proves the killing was deliberate and illegal.

According to Ms Pierce a police officer is heard saying ``Shoot the fucker'', to his colleague who riddled Diarmuid's naked body with bullets.

The campaign is supported by Michael Mansfield QC, around 15 Labour MPs and MEPs including Ken Livingstone and John McDonnell, Amnesty International, Britain and Ireland Human Rights Centre, Movement for Justice as well as various trades union organisations and third world solidarity groups.

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