NI police ombudsman confirms data handover in collusion investigation
Information disclosed to relatives of those killed in Dublin and Monaghan bombings
Bomb survivor Wendy Doherty whose mother, Colette, died, with her son Tiler at the 44th anniversary ceremony of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings on Talbot St. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Hundreds of documents relating to the alleged collusion of RUC officers with a loyalist terror gang in the 1970s have been handed over to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.
The ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, is investigating the activities of the Glennane gang which has been implicated in 120 murders during the Troubles, including the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
The investigation, called Operation Newham, includes not just the Glennane gang but other activities by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in mid-Ulster.
A spokesman for the ombudsman confirmed: “We have received material from a range of agencies as part of our Operation Newham investigation which is considering the actions of police officers in relation to the mid-Ulster UVF in the 1970s.
“This has included information from the MoD [Ministry of Defence], PSNI [Police Service of Northern Ireland], An Garda Síochána and various other departments which hold material of relevance to Operation Newham.”
The document handover was in response to a request from the ombudsman’s office.
The Glennane gang operated out of South Armagh and was active on both sides of the Border. It has been implicated in the Miami Showband massacre of 1975 along with bombings in Belturbet, Dundalk and Castleblayney in the 1970s.
Officials from the ombudsman’s office met the Justice for the Forgotten group in Dublin on April 24th at which they disclosed the handover of the documents.
Justice for the Forgotten has been campaigning to find out who bombed Dublin and Monaghan.
Spokeswoman Margaret Urwin said it was unclear if the documents in question pertained to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings or to other killings carried out by the gang. She said it is likely to delay the publication of the ombudsman’s report into Operation Newham.
“This could put off the day when the report is complete because he [the ombudsman] has so much material to examine,” she said.
More than 100 relatives and friends attended the annual commemoration for the victims of the bombings on Thursday. The ceremony took place at the monument erected in Talbot Street, Dublin, to remember the dead.
A total of 34 people (27 from Dublin and seven from Monaghan) were killed on Friday, May 17th, 1974.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said the Government remained committed to finding out the truth about the bombings and he shared the frustration of relatives who have waited so long for answers.
Mr Flanagan said the Stormont House Agreement of 2014 had made provision for the setting up of legacy bodies in relation to the Troubles.
The British government last week launched the consultation on the draft legislation which would establish the investigating bodies.
Mr Flanagan added: “Dealing effectively with the legacy of the past will be one way to honour the memory of all those killed and injured in the dark days of the Troubles, including those victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings who are foremost in our thoughts today.”