July 29 2017
A High Court judge ruled yesterday that former police chiefs prevented an effective investigation into suspected State collusion concerning more than 100 murders in the 1970s by the so-called Glenanne Gang.
The replacement of the Historical Enquiries Team by a new Legacy Investigations Branch undermined the previous work of the HET, and the PSNI frustrated the possibility of an effective investigation.
This raises important questions about justice, and adds to the frustration of the families of the murder victims.
The operation of the notorious Glenanne Gang reads like something from the far distant past, but the long-felt hurt of the relatives clearly remains very real and continuous.
These relatives, like those of the victims of other atrocities, have gained strength by helping each other during draining court cases. What must it be like, however, for the relatives of lone casualties who do not have this support, and who feel powerless to secure a redress, and an uncovering of the details of what happened?
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Many of these may have given up hope of seeing justice being done, but at the very least they are entitled to know the facts.
The sadness following on from this long litany of violence seems unending, and Monday marks the 25th anniversary of the dreadful Claudy bombings. Time and again the anniversaries of these events come round like deadly clockwork, and the cry by the relatives for justice is heard again.
The Good Friday Agreement has failed to deal with the past despite the pledges from those in authority to help the bereaved and injured.
Yesterday’s verdict brings a small number of people further along the road to justice, but how much further do they – and all the others – have to go?
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