Investigating the past and an ‘agreed’ truth

The Policing Ombudsman has completed three inquiries into ‘collusion’ in murders by the UFF, IRA and UVF – the Greysteel attack, Mary Travers and Cairns brothers. No evidence to sustain claims of prior knowledge or protection of informers have been found but this has not led to acceptance of these conclusions – John Dallat stands by his claims, Alban McGuinness says there are still issues and Cairns family feel justice has been denied. Is re-examination of the past a search for an evidential truth or to gain official affirmation of an individual or family’s truth about a death? Would a truth commission have any greater success than the Police Ombudsman in establishing an ‘agreed’ truth of the past?

  • joeCanuck

    I have given up any faint hope I might have had that justice would be done, or, at least, that the truth might come out, giving (still) grieving relatives some piece of mind.
    The waters are too murky and all sides have too much to hide for there to be any chance of that.
    I mean, Adams still claims that he was never a member of the IRA even though he knows that everyone in N.I., on all sides, knows that this has to be a bare faced lie.
    It saddens me because I know (knew)people on both sides who were brutally murdered.

  • Nevin

    Joe, sadly, the politicos will (continue to) use the grieving relatives as fodder and many of the legal eagles will be more interested in the large pay cheques than in justice.

  • oh yeah

    …and meanwhile, ireland unfree shall never be at peace

  • barnshee

    “Although the police may not have had the evidence to arrest the killers after Castlerock, they certainly had their suspicions and this was understood in any conversations I had with any of the three officers,”

    So no evidence- could not arrest
    How exactly is this collusion- is this the same chap who yells “where`s the proof ” when similar “suspicions are ” raised about rebublicans
    What an moron

  • snakebrain

    Is the role of the Police Ombudsman really to establish an ‘agreed’ truth of the past? That’s a wish of certain segments of the population here that has very little to do with the role of that office, which is to provide police accountability, in line with its statutory duty.

    It necessarily performs its function on an evidential basis, and where it finds no evidence for improper behaviour, it says so. That is as crucial to its acceptance as a fair and impartial policing oversight body as being prepared to publish evidence of wrongdoing when it is found.

    Side issues about the creation of a ‘true’ narrative of the past are not within its remit, except where it finds clear evidence of wrongdoing on the part of police, as in the Omagh and Ballast investigations. To expect anything else is wishful thinking.

  • joeCanuck

    So true Nevin.
    There are some despicable rogues amongst our politicos.

  • gareth mccord

    What if the ombudsman finds collusion and dirty cops what are the poiticians and government going to do about it?? Even more to the point who cares?

  • fair_deal

    snakebrain

    It is not a ‘function’ of the office but the means of the Ombudsman and any truth commission would be very similar ie further investigation of particular incidents.

  • snakebrain

    They would have similar functions, but only incidentally. To judge ‘success’ in a stated aim that is not the given role of the Ombudsmans office is a misapplication of criteria..

  • McGrath

    Per Eamon Cairns: “This clothing could have yielded DNA with modern techniques, but it – like other forensic evidence – was ‘lost’. How did a so-called professional police force manage to ‘lose’ vital evidence. And all records of interviews with the nine suspects at the time have been destroyed because police say it was contaminated by asbestos. How convenient is that?”

    The common denominators in every investigation has been “lost evidence” and “memory loss” when officers were directly questioned. What more can be expected when asking the criminals to help with the crime? Even the murderer if Billy Wright has been “lost”.

  • Michael

    The police were certainly incompetant at times….during the troubles they had a heavy work load but claims that they deliberately let these killers carry out murders and escape justice to boot are hysterical. If Torrens Knight was really a British agent then Greysteel would not have happened. Probably would have had an SAS squad waiting for them outside the Rising Sun bar instead. I`m not saying there weren`t a few bent cops…all police forces on Earth have their mavericks who disgrace their uniform but some of the posters here seem to believe that sectarian bigotry was rampant in the local security forces. Why the hell do such people think the Ombudsman cleared the cops of corrupt pracices in these 3 cases.

  • joeCanuck

    Because, Michael, some people “can’t handle the truth”.
    Cue someone saying there is no such thing as truth.

  • ohdearme

    Michael: Your juat playing word/mind games.
    joeCanuck: [edited by moderator – play the ball]

  • Michael

    No Ohdearne, just pointing out that the RUC have been cleared of any intentional mischief in these 3 cases. The RUC caught the Greysteel killers very soon after the attack and the very allegation that they let the Greysteel attack happen is a cheap slur.Besides, if Torrens Knight had been an agent he would have been expected by his handlers to help prevent the attack. It amazes me how cynical and paranoid some people can be.

  • Sean

    Michael
    I`m not saying there weren`t a few bent cops…all police forces on Earth have their mavericks who disgrace their uniform but some of the posters here seem to believe that sectarian bigotry was rampant in the local security forces. Why the hell do such people think the Ombudsman cleared the cops of corrupt pracices in these 3 cases

    She did not clear them of these crimes she quite specifically said “there is no evidence” which has a quite different meaning when applied to the people charged with collecting said evidence

  • McGrath

    It amazes me how cynical and paranoid some people can be.

    Posted by Michael on Nov 05, 2007 @ 12:21 PM

    I only amazement I have is how much of the evidence that was collected at the time of these crimes, went missing when the Ombudsman asked for it.

    Michael, please explain the systematic destruction of evidence in each of these cases.

  • Michael

    Where do any of these articles state specifically that the RUC destroyed all evidence?

    One more thing I wish to point out is that the Father of the two Cairns boys…and I obviously realise that his sense of loss is obviously very deep which hurts him to this day….was letting his understandable emotions over the deaths of two of his kids get the better of his rational mind when he stated his belief that the RUC themselves were possibly perpertators involved in this dreadful double murder. Frustration over the RUC`s failure to solve this crime doesn`t mean that the police themselves had any criminal culpability.

    As for Greysteel, as I have already pointed out…if the authorities had specific prior knowledge of the deatils of this attack, an SAS team would have been waiting outside the Rising Sun bar for these terrorists responsible.While I could believe that the security forces might have occasionally allowed an individual killing to go ahead to protect an informer it is unthinkable that a massacre on the scale of Greysteel would have been tolerated just to keep a tout`s identity secret. But tolerating any murder for this reason is to me morally unacceptable.

    I don`t have any problem with those who say the RUC/UDR British Army didn`t at times sully the reputation of these agencies….I do have huge issues with those morons who claim that the security forces as a whole were actively and willingly cooperating with loyalist extremists.

  • McGrath

    Where do any of these articles state specifically that the RUC destroyed all evidence?

    Posted by Michael on Nov 05, 2007 @ 10:30 PM

    Who said ALL evidence Michael? Im afraid that was you. Rather silly to do so when you consider destruction of all evidence would surely have been more damning?

    “…they routinely destroyed all the records in relation to one of their TSG (Tasking and Support Group, an intelligence coordination body) operations. They conducted an operation, they had papers relating to it, and they routinely destroyed them afterwards. That was province-wide. We have encountered that in a number of investigations, because it means you can’t investigate who made decisions and why.” – Nuala O’Loan

  • CIARAN10

    i am still waiting on my call from H.E.T about two murders I witnesed in the 7o”s .The police actually stopped the traffic to allow the killers to go free and the car was found out side a heavily fortified army base and even though I could have picked out the killers they told me to f### off if I knew what was good for me That night I also got a call from some good samaritan that made me move soon after .There will never be real peace without justice