6 May 1999 Edition

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Roseann Mallon murder - family appeal for help

As we approach the fifth anniversary of the murder of 76-year-old Roseann Mallon, brutally murdered in her Dungannon home in County Tyrone on 8 May 1994 by the UVF, her family, who are stiill waiting for an inquest, have made a heartfelt appeal for help in getting their questions answered.

The first question they want answered about the day before the killing is: Who were the number of armed men wearing camouflage that two young boys stumbled upon at an old mill with 500 yards of the Mallon house. This was reported to the RUC that evening; the young boys with their mothers made statements to the RUC the next morning; and this was the area investigated for forensics by the RUC.

Two months after the murder, surveillance cameras positioned so that they could observe all the comings and goings from the Mallon home were discovered by a family friend. While the cameras were being removed, one of the biggest crown force military operations ever seen in the area was put in place. Three helicopters filled the air, cars with no number plates arrived and men in long trench coats occupied the fields. When asked by neighbours what they were doing, these men told the local neighbours to move to the backs of their houses as there had been a bomb planted along the road.

A member of the Mallon family safely removed the surveillance cameras and had them examined by a security expert, who revealed the capabilities of this very high-tech equipment. A couple of weeks later, the family solicitor asked RUC Inspector McFarland if they had lost any equipment in the vicinity of the Mallon household. McFarland sated that nothing was missing. When the six o'clock news carried footage of the surveillance cameras, the well-dressed men appeared again. This time, the outside policeman ordered to investigate the murder by Ronnie Flanagan, Inspector Eric Armstrong ,said he wanted to look at the cameras - the same cameras that three months previously the RUC claimed didn't exist.

The questions the Mallon family want answered are:

Who put the surveillance cameras in place?
Why were they put there?
Did the head of the RUC sanction the instalment of these cameras?
Were the camera recordings passed on to the investigating team?
Was the purpose of the cameras to assist or prevent acts of sectarian terrorism?
If the cameras had not been uncovered, would their presence and the existence of the recordings ever have been revealed?
Why was there such a quick response to the removal of the cameras, when it took the RUC more than 45 minutes to respond to the murder?

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1