“I do not understand why my Office cannot be granted a similar duty..”

The Secretary of State may have welcomed the 6th Annual Report from the Police Ombudsman, and the final one from Nuala O’Loan before Al Hutchison takes over, but I’m not sure he’s seen the press release which accompanies it.. in particular the quotes it highlights from the report [pdf file] which re-emphasises what the Ombudsman said to Henry McDonaldFrom the Ombudsman’s press statement

In the Report, Mrs O’Loan said that while the Government provided a budget for the PSNI, the Public Prosecution Service and the Forensic Science Service to look at all deaths of ‘The Troubles’, no funding was allocated initially for her Office to do this work.

Mrs O’Loan said she has to negotiate each year for the necessary funds and, at present, no money has been made available for next year:

“The Historical Enquiries Team has notified me of more than 40 further cases which it needs to transfer to my Office and the details are to be found in my Annual Report.

“While I accept that in the future society may choose to develop alternative methods of dealing with the past, at the moment I am required by law to investigate these cases, yet I have not been assured I will have the money to do so.

“We have a situation where the police can investigate all the other murders of The Troubles but, unless my Office is resourced properly, there will be no investigation of allegations of police involvement in murder,” she said.

The Police Ombudsman has also expressed grave concerns about the transfer in October of this year of primacy in national security matters from the PSNI to MI5. Mrs O’Loan said that while she has a legal right of access to all material held within PSNI, she would not have such a right when MI5 take charge:

“To date MI5 have not refused me access to any material I asked of them, and this has been enormously helpful, but from October I will not have a legal right to material they hold relating to the work of police officers.

“The Criminal Cases Review Commission has a statutory right of access to MI5 files in the exercising of their duty and I do not understand why my Office cannot be granted a similar duty,” she said.

A reminder of the question previously asked.. “if our new democratic institutions aren’t strong enough to withstand the truth..”

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  • Nevin

    I wonder how secure information is in the POO. It would be an obvious target for paramilitary godfathers to ‘penetrate’.

  • The Dubliner

    The Police Ombudsman has also expressed grave concerns about the transfer in October of this year of primacy in national security matters from the PSNI to MI5. Mrs O’Loan said that while she has a legal right of access to all material held within PSNI, she would not have such a right when MI5 take charge:

    “To date MI5 have not refused me access to any material I asked of them, and this has been enormously helpful, but from October I will not have a legal right to material they hold relating to the work of police officers.” – Police Ombudsman’s press release

    Given your fastidious grasp of political nuance, do you know if she is referring to files that exist prior to the handover of control of republican informer/touts/agents from the PSNI to MI5 in October or simply to current management and future cases that may be referred to her office?

    She seems to be saying (again) that the PSNI files relating to republicans (which are relevant to investigating collusion between PIRA and the RUC) will be given to MI5 in October, leaving the Ombudsman with no access to them (other than at the discretion of MI5). At any rate, she is making no effort to differeniate between them. If so, then Gerry Kelly and PSF pulled a fast one that ensured that one dimension to their inflitration by the State’s forces will be forever closed to public scrutiny via the Ombudsman.

  • The Dubliner

    I guess we’ll just have to wait until October to find out what happens to the PSNI historial (and in many cases, no doubt, ongoing) files and case histories pertaining to republicans who have colluded with the RUC in committing serious crimes commited before the handover, since no one seems to know (and nothing is published) if the PSNI will retain control of them (where the Ombudsman can access them) or if MI5 will gain control of them along with control of republican informers/touts/agents, thereby hiding PIRA collusion with the RUC from public scrutiny.