Farry says failure of police to disclose information raises serious issues

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MLA has said failure by the PSNI to disclose ‘significant information’ to the Police Ombudsman relating to a loyalist paramilitary massacre raises “serious issues”.

The Ombudsman has now confirmed it has reopened new lines of inquiry into the attack on Sean Graham’s bookies in the Lower Ormeau in 1992, as well as other loyalist killings in the north-west between 1988-94 and the murder of Damien Walsh at a West Belfast coal depot in 1993, after investigators identified information held by police was not made available to staff investigating the massacre, in which five people were killed.

“This undoubtedly raises serious issues and has the potential to undermine confidence in the police and criminal justice system. That has to be acknowledged and addressed by the police and other agencies in the process,” said Dr Farry.

“The Policing Board needs convened immediately to look at this matter and determine what exactly has occurred in the cases the Ombudsman identified, whether it an isolated human error, problems with the records and IT systems or something else. We also need to know whether this is isolated to the cases identified by the Ombudsman or if other cases may have been similarly affected.

“The Department of Justice also needs to look at this to establish how much a lack of resources and effective technology and systems contributed to this failure to make all the relevant information available to the Ombudsman.

“Dealing with Northern Ireland’s past and its legacy is a difficult and complicated issue, as there remains much individual and collective hurt in our society. That’s why we urgently need to agree comprehensive mechanisms to do just that, along with proper resourcing and everyone involved to act in good faith.”
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