2000 killings to be investigated

It is extremely doubtful that Northern Ireland will see a Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the South African model, but there remains a huge legacy of unsolved crimes left over from 30+ years of conflict. The Chief Constable Hugh Orde launches an investigation into 2,000 unsolved killings under the auspices of the Historical Enquiries Team. It will have a budget of more than £30m and squad of about 100 detectives and support staff. It’s expect to take between five and seven years to complete its work.

  • The Dubliner

    Hugh Orde could probably solve a huge proportion of those crimes if he handed over his Special Branch and other secret files over to an independent commission for investigation.

  • J Kelly


    How many more cases like this are likely to appear were the brave RUC tortured confessions out of innocent people.

  • BogExile

    Thank goodness we’re not going to be inflicted with a Truth and Absolution framework.

    The Dubliner may have a point. Are we going to see a monstrous scenario emerging where whether you lived or died (and possibly if/how your death was investigated) was contingent on protecting informants.

    But, excuse me for turning into a shinner for a moment, this is the police investigating the police. Still it will make cracking telly and it may even bring some closure in a way the utterly repulsive OTR farce from Lord Ambre Solaire never would.

  • headmelter

    “It will have a budget of more than £30m and squad of about 100 detectives and support staff.”

    More jobs for the boys.
    I agree with Bogexile, the police investigating the police….more opportunity for cover up methinks.

  • Jo

    A mammoth task, but a very moving interview on Radio U this morning with a former policeman who commented on the very fact that police are taking an interest in old cases is a source of gratitude for victims relatives. I wonder what % of the 2000 will see any change from what they know now. It would be terribly cruel if false hope was raised only to be dashed again.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    “It will have a budget of more than £30m and squad of about 100 detectives and support staff.”

    Exactly what is the point of this — the allocated budget is a paltry 20% of the cost of the Saville Inquiry, which has to date pleased precisely no-one.
    In the unlikely event of any of these cases being solved, justice will not be served, and judging by the comments here, the whole thing will be regarded as a white-wash. Put this money into something useful like the health service.

  • tom

    dia doaibh,

    A wee heads up for anyone with any degree of involvement militarily over the past three decades or so. Keep a wash bag and a clean set of clothes handy as you just might be visiting the serious crimes suite in Antrim under section 41 legislation some morning quite soon.

    As per recent policy within the PSNI, these teams have as a focus to their investigations the concept of the “primacy of forensics” in particular with the latest developments in DNA profiling.

    Up until recent times very, very few activists were completely forensically aware and this definitely instance where the past might come back to haunt you.

    As with numerous forces across the world these people can be expected to have various databases full of forensic evidence gathered from decades ago. Inevitably especially given the injection of £30 million of funds they can now run with them and they can be expected to produce at the very least some high profile arrests, if not convictions. All of which perhaps puts the motives of Sinn Féin’s recent amnesty type negotiations in a particular context if any ‘thinking’ repblicans are on the ball.

    I suspect this will be a very hot political potato in the coming months which could afford certain ‘agencies’ in the political arena even more ammunition with which to stir the pot a lá the timing and function of subsequent arrests.

    Is mise

  • Brian Boru

    Why are they unsolved? Have the Brits something to hide? Was collusion on a more Olympian scale than claimed? What religion are most of the dead in this category of “unsolved”?

  • Reader

    Brian Boru: What religion are most of the dead in this category of “unsolved”?
    Well, start here: Sutton
    and note that the IRA have had more success in avoiding murder convictions than loyalists, and that most nfNI were Brits and likely at least nominal prods.
    What about a methodology for picking the cases to be investigated – pick a victim at random, and follow-up in turn? MLAs to nominate a victim each?

  • onanothermanswounds

    Martin Ingram has gone very very quiet – do not tell me that he has gone on the run already? Will any revised OTR legislation apply to him? I think we should be told.

  • Crataegus


    “What religion are most of the dead in this category of “unsolved”?”

    Doesn’t matter murder is murder all are equal.

    I must confess some reservations at this set up and would have preferred to see a bit of independent control as there are accusations that there are cases that were in some way know by and possibly had the involvement of agents of the state.

    That said hope that it is able to make real progress. Needs to and the more it solves the more we will be able to get a clearer picture of involvement. This could have wide ramifications.

  • missfitz

    Just from reading the news reports, 2 of the issues raised here seem to have answers. In terms of employees, the releases tell us that the investigations will be fully staffed by those outside the NI policing system, past or present.

    Secondly, the cases are being taken in chronological order, with 100 cases being recorded next Monday, and being worked on in order of occurence.

    For anyone not directly involved, or who has become cynical by commenting at a remover, please do not underestimate the value of this exercise to many families.

    I recall one family I worked with whose daughter was killed. It was one brief news report, due to the level of killings happening, and was then wiped off all memory. Her memory remains precious to them, and if this represents their “day in court”, so be it.

  • Crataegus


    “the investigations will be fully staffed by those outside the NI policing system”

    Thanks for the clarification I missed that important point.

    I agree with you this is an extremely important exercise.

  • missfitz

    As I said crat, I have no inside track on this, just the reports as being read. This is from the BBC:
    “There will be two distinct investigative units – one will be made up exclusively from officers from outside Northern Ireland, who would work on cases, where, for example, there had been allegations of security force collusion.

    The team said they would be operationally independent from the PSNI, but would report to the chief constable.


  • IJP

    Two things:

    1. I wish people would stop talking about South Africa’s ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ as if it actually worked. It didn’t. It was a complete farce almost from beginning to end. It allowed huge swathes of people, not least most of those linked to the ANC and Nasionale Party, completely untouched.

    2. I’m far from convinced this group will do any better. £30 m is frankly pittance for the task at hand to start with. And that’s before it stumbles upon the main problem – that those who profess to want to the truth are usually the least willing the deal with it in reality.

  • ingrammartin


    I can tell you now, if any legislation is passed and anybody considers I am in the wrong I will not tale advantage of this get out of jail card.

    Quote”Martin Ingram has gone very very quiet – do not tell me that he has gone on the run already? Will any revised OTR legislation apply to him? I think we should be told. Unquote


  • onanothermanswounds

    Martin Ingram
    quote ” anybody considers i am in the wrong” unquote – i consider you in the wrong amd i am sure that there are plenty of others. is that suffecient?

  • martin ingram


    The straight answer is NO. You dont count.


  • DerryTerry

    MI, what about those vulnerable men you took advantage of, turning them into agents and then watching them die when they were exposed?

    Do they not count either?

  • onanothermanswounds

    Nor,it seems, does the civilians, both men and women, killed by Martin Ingrams agents, count. Keep the dairies handy Martin.

  • Belfastwhite

    Hope they start with the Bloody Sunday victims. Anyone know how long exactly are they going to wait to publish the report on the enquiry?

  • Reader

    Belfastwhite: Hope they start with the Bloody Sunday victims.
    But the Bloody Sunday victims have already had £300m spend on their case. This £30m is presumably meant to cover the other 2000 victims.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    According to the Sunday Life, an old, long-deceased friend of the two Martins – Ingram and McGuinness – is one of the early cases for review.

    How long before the HET are accused of ‘political policing’..?

    Then again, in the run-up to previous negotiations, there was a suspected hands-off policy towards McGuinness by the British, so maybe he has nothing to worry about. But then again, there’s no amnesty for a fall-back any more…!

    Fun, fun, fun ahead.

  • Martin Ingram

    If you do not fear going to jail, why don’t you just get yourself a publisher in Moscow and spill the beans, once and for all; instead of sniping at the shinners from the sidelines.

    Further, isn’t it the case that a man with your alleged knowledge of PIRA, could save everybody the time, effort and money, by simply matching up the names of the killers and their crimes on Cryptome.

    A lack of substantiated evidence does not seem to have stopped you naming names in the past…
    albeit republican ones; a practice that leaves you open to claims that you are pursuing somebody else agenda.