The watchdog will refuse to ditch the probe into the shooting dead of senior Provo Colum Marks as he prepared to launch a mortar attack on a police patrol in Downpatrick in 1991.
The party branded the enquiry a “waste of time and resources”. But the Ombudsman’s office has told the Sunday World that Marks’ murder is “still under investigation”. South Down MLA Jim Wells said the fact Marks was killed in an act of terrorism (one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero) should be enough to rule out any question marks.
“Marks was always claimed by the IRA as one of its members,” he said. “He was in a field at night where mortars were being launched at police. It is difficult to see what can be gained (collusion with loyalist preliminaries) by spending a lot of taxpayers’ money to investigate this case.” The Ombudsman launched an investigation after a new witness came forward on the 25th anniversary of the 29-year-old’s murder.
It followed an intervention from Attorney General John Larkin who wrote to the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory asking for a review of a decision not to prosecute police officers arising from his execution. Marks was named in Westminster in 2017 by DUP MP Jim Shannon as the leader of the IRA gang who, a year before his death, had detonated a bomb in which four UDR soldiers were killed.
With many thanks to: The Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the original story