The North of Ireland police accused of concealing data on loyalist murders

Watchdog widens inquiry after RUC/PSNI ‘failure to disclose’ information on 1992 mass murder at Belfast betting shop

The North of Ireland’s police recently released information on the 1992 murder of Catholics at a Belfast betting shop

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is facing a barrage of criticism and questions for failing to disclose to a police watchdog “significant” information about loyalist paramilitary murders during the Troubles.

The head of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Michael Maguire, on Wednesday asked the Department of Justice for an independent review into why the force did not share information about a mass shooting of five Catholics at a betting shop in Belfast on 5 February 1992.

The PSNI has apologised and blamed human error, citing “complex challenges associated with voluminous material”. It denied deliberately withholding information.

The release of the information has prompted the ombudsman to pursue new lines of inquiry into about 20 loyalist murders across Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic in the 1980s and 1990s. Ombudsman reports into those killings, which were expected in coming weeks, have been delayed.

“It would seem information which police told us did not exist has now been found,” said Maguire.

The ombudsman’s office learned of the information when police prepared to disclose it to relatives of those killed in the 1992 attack as part of civil proceedings.

“Following a request from this office police released this material to us which helped identify significant evidence relevant to a number of our investigations,” said Maguire. “Following on from this police have now also identified a computer system which they say had not been properly searched when responding to previous requests for information.”

The Good Friday agreement is 20 – and Britain can’t afford to forget it

The ombudsman called for an independent review in the interests of “public confidence” into a force set up after the 1998 Good Friday agreement, in the hope the force would win more support from Catholics and nationalists than its predecessor, the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The PSNI responded swiftly on Wednesday with an apology and promise to overhaul the way it disclosed information.

“We deeply regret that the researchers responding to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland’s request were unable to find and disclose it,” said the deputy chief constable, Stephen Martin. The varying levels of experience and knowledge of researchers accounted for the ombudsman receiving incomplete information but ombudsman staff would now receive “full and unfettered access” to material relating to the crimes, he said.

But groups representing victims expressed dismay and said the incident revived concerns about police collusion with loyalist paramilitaries. The Committee on the Administration of Justice said: “[It] is deeply shocking and the claim that it is due to human error simply insults our intelligence.”

Another group, Relatives for Justice, said there was a systemic problem in disclosure of details about killings involving collusion. It said the independent review should start as a matter of urgency.

Tommy Duffin, whose father, Jack, was one of those killed in the attack at the Sean Graham betting shop, on Ormeau Road, told the BBC that relatives were frustrated by the decades’ long quest to uncover details about the massacre. “All we have got is knock-back after knock-back, and this has nearly broken the camel’s back.”

Sinn Féin requested an urgent meeting with police chiefs to discuss what it termed an “appalling and unacceptable” failure.

With many thanks to: The Guardian for the original story

The infamous day when a son, and the music, died…

‘THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG. SOMETHING MISSING. SOMETHING JUST NOT RIGHT.’ – JACKIE KENNEDY

James Kennedy
SHAMEFUL ACT: The aftermath of the 1992 Sean Graham massacre

JACKIE Kennedy was a man of music. A good oul’ chanter, a singer from the Market area in Belfast. I’m thinking about him now. Have been: since the latest in a long line of security-related storms broke again this week over the notorious and shameful Sean Graham bookie’s shop murders perpetrated by the outlawed UFF way back 27 years ago this month. Indeed, I flicked back through the archives to what big Ivan Little wrote in the Belfast Telegraph about that merciless atrocity in which five people were brutally assassinated in a hail of 46 bullets fired in just 20 seconds by two silent assassins using a high-powed rifle and a handgun. The big fella was recalling in the article how he was based at the nearby UTV headquarters on the lower Ormeau Road at the time and was the first reporter there, accompanied by his cameraman. In his BT recollection, he wrote: “one of the first victims to emerge from the mayhem was quite clearly a child. “I later learned he was James Kennedy, who was just 15. “His father later called at UTV to ask me to stop using the pictures of his son because the family had been told James might have been breathing his last as he was wheeled past the camera.” That was that fateful day of February 5th, 1992. That was the day young James Kennedy died, and the music died for his father, Jackie Kennedy. I know. I got to know Jackie reasonably well. He was a decent man who imbibed a pint of stout and still placed a punt at the bookies. But never again at Sean Graham’s pitch on the corner of Hatfield Street. Instead, he would head in the other direction from his home, into town, into Bittles Bar in Victoria Street in the city centre. Which is where I made his acquaintance many years ago. We shared many conversations over those years, covering many subjects.

EMPTINESS

Jackie rarely talked about what amounted to the obscene sectarian slaughter in Sean Graham’s. It was only when it spiked in the news headlines, as it has done again, that the subject would be inevitably broached between us. I use the word ‘inevitably’, because we would talk from both professional and personal perspectives. Me as the reporter, he as the father of James. And when we did talk, there was always a sense of emptiness, a void that seemed to seep deep into his very soul, in Jackie. Grief, certainly. Fond remembrance of a loved and loving son, sure. The loss of a wife whose death, he felt, had been brought about too early by the lingering consequence of losing her oh-so young and innocent boy, and in such a savage way.

James Kennedy was only 15-years-old when he was gunned down and murdered by UFF/UDA assassins on February 5th, 1992

But that emptiness, that void, in Jackie… It inevitably – and there’s that word again – came down to the same thing. He wasn’t a bitter man. But he always thought – believed, a step way even beyond suspected – that there was something missing. It was like a sixth sense. “There’s something wrong, big McDowell,” he’d say. “There’s something missing. There’s something that’s just not right about all of this.” ‘All of this’ covered, of course, could the police or the Army have done more to prevent the bookie shop bloodletting, and why weren’t the evil UFF perpetrators ever caught? Was there a cover-up? Was there, as Sinn Féin are now – again and typically clarion-calling – ‘collision’? Jackie Campbell himself never coached it in those terms in his conversations with me. ‘Something missing’. ‘Something wrong’. ‘Something just not right.’ Those words echoed from the grave as the latest storm broke over the bookie shop murders in the last few days: the PSNI putting their hands up and confessing that ‘significant and sensitive information’ had not been disclosed to the Police Ombudsman’s Office because of ‘human error’ in researching archive files. I say ‘echoed from the grave’ because Jackie, father of young James, is now dead, having passed on not so long ago. So he hasn’t survived to see what that once missing, now found, ‘significant and sensitive information’ may be when it is finally made public. 

The plaque which Commerates Joe ‘Chinky’ Bratty and Raymond ‘Snowy’ Elder both assinated by the PIRA on the Ormeau Road on July 31st, 1994. And also proves that the UFF is only a cover name for the UDA

Will the ‘significant’ part disclose what is already well known, but which has never officially been confirmed: that UFF/UDA godfathers Joe ‘Chinky’ Bratty and Raymond ‘Snowy’ Elder masterminded the massacre? Will the ‘sensitive’ part explain why, having been identified by eyewitness as one of the two assassins, and having been stopped by police in what they suspected was the second getaway car less than 24 hours after the atrocity, charges against Elder were dramatically dropped in November 1992, just ten months after the multiple murders? Or that Bratty was suspected of having been at a car auction attempting to buy a getaway car for use after the massacre? Or could the ‘significance’ and ‘sensitivity’ of the apparently newly uncovered ‘information’ be that Bratty, or Elder, or indeed both, we’re touts (informers)? Of course, both Bratty and Elder aren’t around to corroborate, or indeed deny, anything that eventually comes out of the latest revelation. Both were assassinated by the PIRA on the same Ormeau Road just half a mile up from where the bookie’s shop still sits on July 31st, 1994.

‘THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG. SOMETHING MISSING. SOMETHING JUST NOT RIGHT.’

But back to Jackie Kennedy. He was an intelligent and articulate man. He read newspapers, avidly. And he was also apt to sit in the corner snug in John Bittles’ bar using newspapers for two other purposes. Pen, or pencil, in hand, perusing the racing pages and picking out horses he hoped would be winners that day and doing the crosswords is ‘seismic’. Perhaps that same word will eventually apply to the ‘significant and sensitive information’ now, eventually, unearthed by the PSNI with regard to that fateful day of February 5th, 1992, when young James Kennedy, and four other innocent victims of the UFF/UDA, all breathed their last. And perhaps the instinct and intuition Jackie Kennedy held to his last breath will at least prove both apt and accurate. Not just that, in his own words: “something’s missing. Something wrong. Something’s just not right.” But that something more than that, something seismic really did occur. Both in the act of the multiple murder, the massacre, itself. And in the lingering and damning failure to bring the silent assassins, or those UFF/UDA ogres who plotted with and aided and abetted them, to justice. Perhaps the rectification of what the PSNI are now calling a ‘human error’ can be recifified now. And 27 long years after the day the music died for his father, Jackie.

With many thanks to: Jim McDowell and The Sunday World for the original story.

Follow this link to find out more about the murder of young James Kennedy:https://belfastchildis.com/tag/james-kennedy/

Follow this link to find out more about Raymond ‘Snowy’ Elder: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Elder

Follow this link to find out more about Joe ‘Chinky’ Bratty: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Bratty

RUC/PSNI accused of “cover-up” along with Special Branch collusion in Sean Graham bookies massacre

 

Police “never sought to deliberately withhold” information – RUC/PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has been accused of a “cover-up” after it failed to reveal “significant information” about a loyalist gun attack that left five people dead.

The attack at Sean Graham’s bookies in south Belfast in 1992 was carried out by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF).

The Police Ombudsman has opened new inquiry lines after finding out about more material linked to the attack.

The PSNI said it never sought to deliberately withhold the information.

It said that the problem had arisen due to issues including human error, “the sheer volume of the material involved and the limitations of the archaic IT systems”.

The families of the victims have previously said they believe there was collusion between the killers and security forces in the betting shop shootings.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/embed/p070vlgb/47231937“>http://https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/embed/p070vlgb/47231937Tommy Duffin voices frustration at investigation

Tommy Duffin, whose father Jack Duffin was shot dead in the atrocity at the Ormeau Road betting shop, said the PSNI’s initial failure to disclose all of the information was unacceptable.

“It’s just been cover-up after cover-up after cover-up of RUC-Special Branch collusion in my opinion – plain and utter collusion,” he told BBC News NI.

“We know it went on and we know it went on through the Troubles and they’re experts at it.

“They’re still getting away with it to this day.”

No-one has been convicted over the killings.

‘Investigation reports delayed’
The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, said his staff became aware that police were preparing to disclose material as part of impending civil proceedings.

His office then asked for that material and it helped his staff to “identify significant evidence relevant to a number of our investigations”, he added.

Five innocent men were murdered in the atrocity at the betting shop attack in South Belfast“Police have now also identified a computer system, which they say had not been properly searched when responding to previous requests for information,” said Dr Maguire.

“It would seem information which police told us did not exist has now been found.”

The material has led the Police Ombudsman to examine new lines of inquiry into the Ormeau shootings, events connected to loyalist paramilitaries in the north west of Northern Ireland between 1988 and 1994 and the murder of teenager Damien Walsh at a coal depot in west Belfast in 1993.

Police Ombudsman reports into those investigations will now be delayed.

Dr Maguire said that “in the interests of public confidence in policing” he has asked Stormont’s Department of Justice to commission an independent review into the methods police use to disclose information.

‘Knock-back after knock-back’
The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) said the development showed that “the practice (of withholding information and delaying disclosure) is still continuing”.

“[It] is deeply shocking and the claim that it is due to human error simply insults our intelligence,” it added.

“The Police Ombudsman’s office relies on the PSNI acting in good faith to assist it in its investigations as RUC archive material remains within its control.”

“These developments clearly expose the lack of willingness or capacity of the PSNI to provide full disclosure to the Police Ombudsman to allow him to carry out independent and effective investigations.”

Mark Sykes, who was injured in the shooting, said he felt “sick, angry and lied to”.

“We had been told time and time again when we met Mr Maguire that he had all the information that he needed to do this report,” he added.

“To be told yesterday that there were documents withheld from him was sickening.”

‘Full, unfettered access’
The PSNI’s Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin apologised to the families of the attack victims.

“We deeply regret that the researchers responding to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland’s (PONI) request were unable to find and disclose it,” he said.

The atrocity took place in February 1992 was carried out by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)

The “error became apparent”, he said, when a researcher working elsewhere in the PSNI “found the material while preparing for disclosure in response to civil litigation”.

He said that there was a number of reasons why one researcher found the material while others did not, including “differing levels of experience and knowledge of our researchers”.

Mr Martin said that the PSNI’s chief constable has concluded that the best interim solution for public confidence in policing would be to give “appropriately vetted” Police Ombudsman staff “full and unfettered access” to its legacy systems.

He also said the PSNI hoped to make substantial changes to its procedures for disclosing information in the coming months and it welcomed any independent review of its system.

A spokesperson for Relatives for Justice claimed there was a “systemic problem in terms of disclosure concerning state killings and in particular killings where collusion is a feature”.

Policing Board chair Anne Connolly said it was “essential” that there was “full disclosure of material to allow the Police Ombudsman’s Office to do its job”.

She added that the PSNI’s search systems and checking processed were “not meeting legislative duties around disclosure and therefore require review”.

In 2015, the PSNI’s chief constable apologised after it was discovered that the weapon used in the Ormeau Road killings was on display in the Imperial War Museum in London.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story

In 1992 the UVF shot Paddy Fox’s parents dead….12 years later a police notebook with his details fell into.loyalist hands

Charlie and Tess Fox who were murdered in 1992.

THE son of a Co Tyrone couple who were shot dead by the Mid Ulster UVF is to take legal action after discovering a police notebook, containing his personal details, was in the hands of the same organisation who murdered his parents.

Republican Paddy Fox, whose parents Charlie and Theresa were shot dead by loyalists at their home outside the Moy in 1992, said he was warned by police in 2004 that he might be under threat from loyalists.

However at no stage, he claims, was he told that his details were contained in a PSNI notebook which loyalists had in their possession.

The Irish News has seen the police notebook which contains details of police operations and briefings, along with lists of names, addresses and car registrations.

Person details related to Paddy Fox, whose parents were murdered by the UVF, were contained in the notebook.
Read More:

Police officer’s notebook lost in the latest RUC/PSNI breach. The Business owner left ‘traumatised’ by RUC/PSNI data breach.

Exclusive: PSNI gives private citizens’ data to suspected loyalist paramilitaries

Analysis: PSNI data breach could be ‘biggest security blunder in north’s history’
The book, which appears to be briefing notes from a serving police officer, gives details of Mr Fox’s address and also contains the make and colour of the car he was driving.

Other names on a ‘watch list’ are well known republicans Kevin Barry Murphy, Aidan Grew and Barry Morgan.

All the names are listed with dates of birth, addresses and in some cases car makes and registrations.

It is not known how the notebook found its way into the hands of loyalists.

But it is believed that none of those whose details were in the book were informed of the security breach.

Republican Paddy Fox (pictured above) Mr Fox said: “In the past I have been informed by the police that my details were in the hands of loyalists but at no time was I ever told how they got them.

“It now seems the details were from the very people issuing me the warnings. There needs to be some accountability for this,” he added.

The notebook also details a briefing by now retired former Special Branch officer Alan Mains, the former senior police officer now works as a security consultant.

Included among briefings is one delivered to officers in relation to an attack on Randalstown Police Station.

In October 2004 a family was held hostage by an armed gang who stole their van to mount a drive-by shooting on the Co Antrim police station.

Three children, aged between five and seven, and a couple were held hostage in the house during the incident.

No-one was injured as four shots hit steel gates at the front of the police station.

Details of the attack are in the notebook listing six homes to be searched in the hunt for ‘items weapons munitions explosives, any item that can be of use to terrorists’.

It is the third reported data breach involving the PSNI in the last four months.

The funeral of Charlie and Tess Fox, murdered by the UVF, passes their Co Tyrone home.

In July The Irish News reported that hundreds of pages of data were leaked to loyalist paramilitaries, after equipment seized as part of an investigation into organised crime was returned with a pen drive attached containing information on private individuals and local companies.

Both the Police Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner are investigating the data breach.

In September a police notebook was lost during searches by the Paramilitary Crime Task Force into the activity of the South East Antrim UDA.

It contained information on suspects as well as some personal details relating to the female officer who lost the notebook.

Despite police appeals for the notebook to be returned it has yet to be recovered.

Charlie Fox

Peter Corrigan of Phoenix Law, which represents a number of those named in the latest breach, said last night: “We will be taking civil action against the PSNI and Chief Constable for this very serious data breach, that potentially resulted in at least one of my clients being told he was under threat from loyalists back in 2004.

“The PSNI had a duty of care to inform those listed in this notebook at the time that they had lost their private details and failed to do so”, he added.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd last night said police were investigating.

“We have conducted preliminary inquiries but given the timescale involved, we have not been able to confirm the loss or theft of a police notebook from this period or area,” he said.

“Our enquiries are continuing.”

Theresa Fox

With many thanks to: Allision Morris and The Irish News for the original story.

JUSTICE for the innocent men, women and children murdered by British Paratroopers on Bloody Sunday and their families – JUSTICE FOR ALL

The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them: Lois McMaster Bujold

With many thanks to the: Bloody Sunday March for the original posting.

Follow this link to find out more and LIKE their FACEBOOK page: https://www.facebook.com/BloodySundayMarch/

Listen to the song and the lyrics here: https://www.deezer.com/track/1579275?autoplay=true

Majella O’Hare murdered by British paratroopers on 14th of August 1976.

The 14th of august was a day of special remembrance for Nurse Alice Campbell of Crossmaglen, for it was on that day she was to be married to Brian Reavey of Whitecross. Alas Brian and his two brothers John Martin and Anthony were assassinated in January 1976. On the Fourteenth morning Seamus Reavey, Brian’s brother, collected her from her work at Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry, at 9 a.m. They bought a wreath and went to collect the father James Reavey, and little Colleen the eight-year-old daughter. They cut roses from the garden at the old Reavey home atGreyhilla, Whitecross, where Brian was assassinated. They arrived at Ballymoyer Graveyard about 11.00 a.m. Seamus noticed a group of soldiers in the hay-cut field beside the graveyard, and whenthey were half-way down the path of the cemetery the same soldiers had entered at the bottom left of the cemetery and met them on the path. The Paratrooper in charge told Seamus Reavey that he wanted to see him when he was finished.They delayed in the graveyard some twenty minutes thinking the soldiers might move off and leave them alone. But when they came out and Seamus unlocked the car door for the others, the Paratrooper called Seamus in the foulest of language. This was witnessed by Hugh Kennon who had been stopped on the road by the British Army. He remarked on it. The Paratrooper kept Seamus about half an hour at a telegraph pole some thirty yards abovebthe graveyard. There he put Seamus through deep agony insulting the memory of his dead brothers. To the stranger this inhumanity is incredible but it is a common attitude of the British Army to the oppressed Catholic community. While they were talking a group of children went by. Seamus Reavey says they looked happy. They were a group of ten children who were heading for their sodality confession at Ballmoyer Chapel,some 500 yards down the road. Mrs. Murphy of the Orlitt Cottages, from where most of thechildren had come, had warned the bigger ones before they left not to pass any remarks to the British Army. The 4 soldiers at the gateof the cut hayfield about 45 yards below the graveyard gate shouted some taunts to which the children hardly replied. One of these soldiers lay on his stomach manning a machine-gun. This was the gun that killed Majella O’Hare. At this stage two little girls aged 8 and 7 were some distance in front. They were followed by a boy of 13 and the girl of 16. The rest of the 8 children were stretched across the road, two of these lagging a little behind Majella was second from the left hand side of the road. She had the youngest child (three and a half) by the hand. There was a loud bang and Majella fell. All the civilian witnesses are agreed that there was one single bang. They describe it as “loud,” like an “explosion.” Mrs. Teresa Murphy says -“I heard the shot, a bang with a tail on it, not a sharpclear sound, but very loud.” This is an accurate description of a firing from a machine-gun which can fire “800” rounds a minute. The slightest touch will discharge 3 shots. And this is whathappened. The Paratrooper discharged 3 shots. Two of the bullets penetrated Majella’s back and came out through her stomach. The bullets ploughed up the heap of gravel in front of the trailer which was parked on the road verge.