19 July 2015Police say they seized a number of items following raids carried out in Derry following incidents at the wake and funeral of the mother of INLA Hunger Striker, Patsy O’Hara.
Peggy O’Hara was the last of the Hunger Strikers’ mothers to die, and was laid to rest yesterday in one of the largest paramilitary style funerals seen in the city for many years.
The PSNI confirmed that they carried out searches in Derry this morning in connection with a number of recent events in the city.
Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan said: “This morning’s searches follow a number of recent incidents linked to the wake and funeral of Peggy O’Hara. A number of items have been seized and police enquiries are ongoing.”
David MooreNews Letter
19 July 2015Image from Belfast TelegraphMembers of terror group the INLA stood guard at the funeral of a hunger striker’s mother in Derry on Saturday.
The DUP have questioned the policing of the funeral, which they say “seemed to take place without a police officer in sight”.
However, one photo of the event shows a PSNI vehicle with a CCTV camera observing ranks of masked men as they parade past.
The funeral cortege of Peggy O’Hara, mother of the hunger striker Patsy O’Hara, who died in the Maze Prison in 1981, was accompanied to the graveside by a ‘colour parade’ of 50 men and women in paramilitary dress.
DUP MP Gregory Campbell said that prior to Saturday’s funeral, his party colleagues had alerted the PSNI to the potential for paramilitary displays at the funeral after members of the illegal republican group fired shots over the coffin of Mrs O’Hara outside her home in the Templegrove area of the city on Wednesday.
“Despite our efforts with the police, it would seem that there were no visible signs of police in close proximity to the funeral cortège on Saturday,” he said.
Mr Campbell said that, in contrast with recent convictions for loyalist bandsmen breaching Parades Commission determinations, it seemed INLA members could discharge guns “without fear of prosecution”.
The East Londonderry MP called on the PSNI to explain the extent of the policing operation and what action will be taken against the illegal parade.
“It seems, however, that the police are treating some groups in some areas with kid gloves, thus leaving the impression that there is a two-tier justice system.”
Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said there is no “one size fits all” approach to policing but strongly denied allegations the PSNI are biased.
“We absolutely reject any suggestion of bias in policing.
“Such remarks are inaccurate, unhelpful and ill informed,” he said.
The PSNI said that items were seized during searches as part of its investigation into the wake and funeral.
A republican speaker at the funeral said that the O’Hara family supported the INLA show of strength.
In comments reported online by the Derry Now
website, Martin McMonagle of the Irish Republican Socialist Party told mourners that the O’Hara family had asked him to “thank the INLA for the magnificent show today in bringing Peggy to her resting place”.
However, UUP MLA Ross Hussey said people would expect to see convictions after “this brazen display of paramilitary thuggery”.
“People will feel intimidated and shocked that this is allowed to happen in 2015,” he said.
The West Tyrone MLA added that the presence of paramilitaries on the streets “tarnishes the name of the city of Londonderry”.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton responded sarcastically to a Twitter user who questioned the policing of the funeral.
“Clue might be in the police Land Rover complete with evidence gathering facilities! Like we said earlier – an investigation ongoing.”
The PSNI were unable to provide details of how many convictions have resulted from intelligence gathering operations at funerals.
18 July 2015Photo by Hugh GallagherThere was a large turnout for the funeral of the late Peggy O’Hara in Derry as people from across the country gathered at the Long Tower chapel to say farewell to the much loved mother of INLA hunger striker Patsy who died in Long Kesh in May 1981, 61 days into his protest.
The remains of Mrs O’Hara, 86, were brought to the funeral mass in a horse drawn carriage; a tricolour flower arrangement on top said simply “friend”.
In his eulogy the Reverend Brendan Collins said that he had learned much about Peggy as he sat with he family during the wake and added that he had been particularly struck by the “high esteem” in which she was held by all who had known her.
“She was well known in the community and beyond, with people coming to today’s funeral from far and wide and was a huge source of comfort and support for so many,” he said.
“When we reflect on Peggy’s life we think of the question ‘how did she do it’?
“How did she keep her spirits up? She was a strong person of great faith. Father Paddy O’Kane who brought communion to Peggy every month and is in Lourdes today told me that he is celebrating mass there for her as well. He told me that he first met Peggy when her son Patsy was in prison just a few days before he died. He described Peggy as a very kind, sincere and good natured lady. A woman who loved her family and whose strong faith had sustained her through the darker days in her life.”
Mrs O’Hara’s remains were flanked by a 50 man colour party who escorted her to her final resting place in the city cemetery via Bishop Street and the Brandywell.
18 July 2015Image of Proctor/McClements from Belfast Telegraph articleA 24-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the murder of Paul McCauley.
Piper John McClements, formerly known as Daryl Proctor, appeared at a special sitting of Derry Magistrate’s Court on Saturday.
McClements, of The Fountain, is charged with the murder of Mr McCauley on June 6, 2015.
Mr McCauley died on this date nine years after he was attacked at a barbeque in the Chapel Road area of the Waterside.
McClements was previously convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr McCauley and served a prison sentence for this.
The court heard this is the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland where a person has been convicted of an assault and then charged with murder after the victims death.
McClements was granted bail, despite police objections.
The 24-year-old was released on his own bail of £500 with one surety of £600.
He is banned from contacting the McCauley family, banned from entering the Waterside except if accompanied by either of his parents or of travelling directly to Strathfoyle gym.
McClements is banned from consuming alcohol and from entering licensed premises and must sign bail daily.
He will appear in court again on August 13.
A man has been charged with the murder of Paul McCauley in Derry.
Story by UTV Staff, Belfast:::u.tv:::
17 July 2015**See also: Paul McCauley dies after being beaten by loyalist thugs in 2006 sectarian attack in Waterside, DerryPaul, before the brutal attackMr McCauley died last month in a care facility almost nine years after he was attacked by a mob in July 2006.
Police said they arrested a 24-year-old man in the Fountain Street area of the city on Thursday morning.
The man has been charged with murder to appear at Londonderry Magistrates Court on Saturday.
A short statement from the PSNI said: “A 24-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Paul McCauley and is to appear at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.”
Paul McCauley never recovered after he suffered severe brain injuries when he was viciously set upon by a loyalist gang while attending a barbecue in the Waterside area on 16 July 2006.
The Catholic civil servant, who was 29 years old at the time, had remained in a persistent vegetative state since the attack, unable to move or communicate, and needing 24-hour nursing care.
Police on Thursday said the investigation had “taken on a renewed impetus” since Paul’s death last month.
Detective Chief Inspector Michael Harvey, from Serious Crime Branch, said: “This is a very challenging investigation, especially with the passing of time, but we are fully committed to exploring all avenues and opportunities and I would appeal to everyone in the community, if they have any information, come forward and contact detectives.”
14 July 2015Peggy O’Hara, mother of Derry hunger striker Patsy O’Hara has passed away aged 88.
Mrs O’Hara’s son Patsy, a member of the INLA was amongst ten republican prisoners who died in Long Kesh on hunger strike in 1981. He died after 61 days.
Mrs O’Hara contested the Northern Ireland Assembly elections aged 76 in 2007.
At that time she was quoted as saying she would stand after Sinn Fein announced in that year they would hold a special Ard Fheis on policing in the north. Mrs O’Hara said she would put her name forward for the elections in memory of her son.
““Patsy would have been against this,” she said.
“I was there for years and years when Patsy got lifted and was taken out in his bare feet by the police.
“A lot of people, including young people, have the same opinion as me.
“No-one has come to me and asked me what I think of the policing debate.
“I am standing in memory of Patsy if the elections take place,” she told the Irish News in 2007.
The O’Hara family hailed from the Bishop Street area of Derry. Patsy O’Hara was interned in Long Kesh in 1974 and joined the INLA upon his release in 1975. He was subsequently arrested in Derry later that same year and held on remand for six months and for a further period of four months in 1976.
In May 1978, he was arrested in Dublin but was released hours later. He returned to Derry in 1979 and was arrested and later convicted of posession of a hand grenade and recieved an eight year jail term. At the beginning of the first hunger strike in 1980 he was officer commanding INLA prisoners in Long Kesh. He joined the 1981 hunger strike on March 22, 1981.
Sampson report recommended that two officers in Northern Ireland be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice
Ian CobainThe Guardian
9 July 2015Michael Tighe, 17, was shot dead by the RUC in Co Armagh in 1982 Details of an alleged criminal conspiracy by MI5 to obstruct one of the most sensitive murder inquiries of the 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland have been exposed following the emergence of key sections of a previously secret police report on the affair.
The report details how officers of the security service were said to have concealed the existence of an audio recording of an incident in which RUC officers shot dead an unarmed teenage boy, Michael Tighe, and then destroyed the tape to prevent it falling into the hands of the detective who was investigating the killing.
Compiled at the height of a tumultuous 1980s political scandal known as the Stalker affair, the report recommended that two officers – thought to be the highest-ranking MI5 officers in the province – be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice.
Its author, Colin Sampson, then chief constable of West Yorkshire, condemned MI5’s concealment of a key piece of evidence during a murder inquiry as “wholly reprehensible”, and said the officers responsible were guilty of “nothing less than a grave abuse of their unique position”. He added in his report that the excuse they had given for failing to surrender the recording was “patently dishonest”.
Sampson reported that he had gathered sufficient evidence to justify the prosecution of three MI5 officers for their roles in the conspiracy. However, he recommended that the most junior officer, who had carried out the act of destruction, be granted immunity in return for giving evidence against the two high-ranking MI5 officers.
He also recommended that three senior police officers be prosecuted for conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
In the event, none were prosecuted after the then attorney general, Sir Patrick Mayhew, said the government did not believe it to be in the interests of national security to bring them to trial. Mayhew’s statement made no mention of MI5, however, and was couched in a way that led MPs to believe that Sampson had recommended only police officers be prosecuted.
Sampson’s report remained secret for 30 years. However, sections of the report were included in submissions to the court of appeal in Belfast when a survivor of the police shooting, Martin McCauley, successfully appealed against his conviction for possession of rifles.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission, the official body that examines alleged miscarriages of justice, had referred McCauley’s case to the appeal court. The commission is thought to have interviewed people who had listened to the surveillance recording to establish whether any warnings could be heard being shouted before Tighe was shot dead.
After McCauley’s conviction was quashed, the director of public prosecutions of Northern Ireland requested a new investigation into the concealment and destruction of the surveillance recording.
The police ombudsman of Northern Ireland is currently investigating the actions of a group of former Special Branch officers, while detectives from Police Scotland are investigating the conduct of a number of former MI5 officers.
28 June 2015Lisa Dorrian was last seen at a Ballyhalbert caravan park in February 2005 Police are set to ‘study’ fresh allegations by a life sentence prisoner that the body of Bangor murder victim Lisa Dorrian was buried in a sealed container at an illegal landfill site.
Jimmy Seales – who is serving a minimum 15-year-term for the murder of Philip Strickland who died after being shot in the face at Ballydrain Road, near Comber in 2012 – told the Sunday Life that the remains of Ms Dorrian are buried in a landfill site in Ballygowan, Co Down.
In the interview Mr Seales told the Sunday paper that Lisa’s body was put into a 40-gallon container and the lid welded shut before it was hidden in land.
Police have said they would study the fresh allegations by Mr Seales.
Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway said: “Police will be studying the allegations contained in this report.
“I would appeal to anyone who believes they have information about Lisa’s disappearance and murder to come forward and talk to us.
“Despite the passage of time, it is not too late. Police inquiries are continuing.
“Those individuals who have knowledge which could free the Dorrian family from their living nightmare should do the right thing and give up their secrets.”
Lisa was last seen at a party on a Ballyhalbert caravan park in north Down in February 2005.
The 25-year-old’s body has never been found despite extensive air, land and sea searches.
Earlier this year, a reward of up to £5,000 was offered on Crimestoppers for information about her suspected murder.
In 2012 detectives investigating her murder searched an area of farmland near Comber using specialist equipment.
Cameron’s refusal to establish Bloody Sunday-style inquiry into collusion between Finucane’s killers and security forces ‘lawful’, says Belfast high court
Henry McDonaldThe Guardian
26 June 2015A Belfast court has upheld David Cameron’s decision not to hold an independent inquiry into the 1989 loyalist murder of the Northern Irish solicitor Pat Finucane.
Finucane’s family brought a judicial review against the government’s refusal to establish a Bloody Sunday-style inquiry into his murder after a previous investigation found there was collusion between Finucane’s killers and the security forces.
In his judgment at Belfast high court on Friday, Mr Justice Stephens said: “I uphold that the decision was lawful and accordingly I dismiss that part of the challenge.”
Stephens said he believed government ministers had “anxiously” considered a range of factors before arriving at the decision. He said: “There is no direct evidence that the decision had been taken at earlier stages. There is no direct evidence of a closed mind.”
The judge also acknowledged that a number of key witnesses were dead and that the most significant witness would be unable to take part in a public inquiry because of a medical condition.
Speaking outside the court, Finucane’s son John said the family was disappointed but would not drop their campaign for justice. “We have been on a campaign for 26 years. We have had numerous setbacks, numerous successes along that way.
“We see today not as a setback which would end our campaign once and for all. There are certainly comments and material within that judgment, even with an initial viewing, that would cause us hope.
“What is clear and what the court has found is that there was a clear, unequivocal promise made to my mother; made to my family as a result of Weston Park.
“The court has felt restricted and limited in interfering in what was a political decision but I think the public can make their own minds up that when an unequivocal promise is made to our family by the government and that is changed quite cruelly -- I think they can decide for themselves what lies behind that.”
Finucane, 38, who represented a number of high-profile republicans, was shot dead in front of his wife and three children at their north Belfast home in February 1989.
The killing, one of the most notorious of the Troubles, is shrouded in controversy over allegations that the security forces colluded with the gunmen from the outlawed Ulster Defence Association (UDA).
At the time of the Finucane assassination, at least 29 members of the UDA in the terror units responsible for his murder were agents either of police special branch, the army’s force research unit or MI5.
Although the government-established De Silva Inquiry found evidence of collusion between the killers and the security forces, the Finucane family described the inquiry as a whitewash. They have always demanded that only an inquiry independent of government and chaired by an international figure with full public transpareny can establish the full truth about the scandal.
Sir Desmond de Silva QC found there were “shocking” levels of state collusion but no overarching state conspiracy in the lawyer’s murder.
The prime minister did issue an apology to the Finucane family over the state’s role in the murder. But despite the family’s demand for a public inquiry, Cameron insisted that a public inquiry would not shed any new light on the scandal.
Suspected remains of former monk and one other unearthed on land that was believed to be secret burial place of IRA victims who went missing in 1972
Press AssociationThe Guardian
25 June 2015**Please see also this article by Ed Moloney at The Broken Elbow for further insight: Have The Remains Of Seamus Wright And Kevin McKee Been Found In Co. Meath Bog?The scene in Coghalstown where human remains have been found on reclaimed bogland. (Photograph: Niall Carson/PA)The remains of two bodies have been found on reclaimed bogland in the Irish Republic where three of the so-called IRA Disappeared are believed to have been secretly buried.
A dig on the farmland in Coghalstown, Co Meath, as part of the search for the remains of former monk Joe Lynskey unearthed one body on Thursday morning, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) said.
A second body was discovered as further examinations took place at the site and preparations were made to take the first body out the ground.
IRA victims Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee are believed to be buried in the same area, the ICLVR said.
“We have always said that we think three bodies are in that area and until there is further identification we just don’t know,” a spokesman said.
It is understood the second set of human remains was unearthed as specialists cleared ground around the first body to prepare it for removal.
Lynskey’s family, who have endured a 43-year wait to give their loved one a proper burial, were notified of the initial discovery and were said to be shocked but relieved at the discovery.
The former Cistercian monk was abducted and murdered by the IRA in August 1972. The group only admitted his disappearance in 2010. Wright, another of the Disappeared believed to be dumped in the bogland, was also from Belfast.Joe Lynskey, a former monk who was executed and secretly buried by the IRA. (Photograph: Wave Trauma Centre/PA)
He was in the IRA and was murdered in the same year by his former colleagues, who accused him of being a British army agent and a member of its Military Reaction Force – an undercover unit.
Wright was married and 25 years old when he went missing in October 1972. He worked as an asphalt layer. McKee, again from Belfast, and in the IRA, he was also murdered in the same year.
He was also suspected of being in the British army agent and the Military Reaction Force. He was interrogated and murdered by the terror group.
Lynskey’s niece, Maria, had been expected to visit the site after the discovery and said her thoughts were with other families awaiting news.
“We would like to thank the [ICLVR] and those who have engaged with the commission in the search for Joe,” she said.
“Our thoughts are with the other families whose loved ones remain disappeared.”
Extensive searches have been carried out at the site for both Wright and McKee, but this year was the first dig for Lynskey’s remains.
17 June 2015Philip McMurray is taking legal action against the Chief Constable, the secretary of state, the Ministry of Defence and an IRA informer The husband of an RUC officer murdered by the IRA is to take legal action over his wife's death.
Philip McMurray believes it is the only course of action he can take, after a BBC Panorama programme highlighted allegations of collusion in the attack on his wife's patrol vehicle.Colleen McMurray was killed by an IRA mortar bomb
Constable Colleen McMurray, 34, was killed when a mortar bomb exploded in Newry, County Down, in 1992. A colleague lost his legs in the attack.
Mr McMurray was also an RUC officer at the time. The couple had been married for 18 months.
He is taking action against the Chief Constable, the secretary of state, the Ministry of Defence and an IRA informer.
Peter Keeley, allegedly an undercover agent in the IRA, told the programme that he had helped design the technology that fired the rocket remotely.
He said he had passed that information onto his handlers and also told them the IRA was planning an attack.Peter Keeley
The programme shown in May, examined the extent of security force collusion with paramilitary agents during decades of violence in Northern Ireland.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said that since the introduction of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIPA) Act 2000, the conduct of covert operations by UK security forces is heavily regulated and scrutinised.
4 June 2015Ivor BellThe prosecution of a veteran republican accused of involvement in the murder of Belfast mother of 10 Jean McConville is to proceed.
After a number of court extensions to consider their case, prosecutors had been given a final deadline of today to indicate whether they would be pursing the case against Ivor Bell.
A lawyer for the North's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) ended mounting public uncertainty around the case this morning when he told judge George Connor it would be proceeding.
“A decision has now been taken to prosecute this defendant,” he said.
Bell, 78, from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, was arrested and charged in March last year.
He is charged with aiding and abetting the murder of the widow who was abducted from her home in west Belfast in 1972.
He is further accused of IRA membership.
Bell, wearing a dark grey shirt, sat impassively in the dock of Belfast Magistrates’ Court during the short hearing.
Two of Mrs McConville’s children, Michael and Suzanna, watched proceedings from the public gallery.Boston College tapes
Part of the case against Bell is based on a tape police secured from an oral history archive collated by Boston College.
The college interviewed a series of former paramilitaries on the understanding their accounts would remain unpublished until their deaths.
But that undertaking was rendered meaningless when the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) won a court battle in the US to secure the recordings.
Detectives claim one of the interviews was given by Bell – a claim the defendant denies
Mrs McConville was dragged from her home in the Divis flats by an IRA gang of up to 12 men and women after being accused of passing information to the British Army in Belfast – an allegation discredited by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.
She was shot in the back of the head and buried 50 miles from her home.
The IRA did not admit her murder until 1999 when information was passed to police in the Irish Republic.
She became one of the “Disappeared” and it was not until August 2003 that her remains were eventually found on Shelling Hill beach, Co Louth.
No-one has been convicted of her murder.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was last year arrested and questioned as part of the police investigation into Mrs McConville’s death.
The Louth TD has consistently rejected allegations made to Boston College by former republican colleagues including Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price that he had a role in ordering her death.
The PPS continues to review a file on Mr Adams.
Relatives believe victims sacrificed to preserve position of British army agent Stakeknife
Owen BowcottThe Guardian
1 June 2015**Photos and links onsiteRelatives of people “executed” by the IRA for allegedly betraying the republican movement by acting as informers have begun legal action to discover the truth, as they prepare to tell their harrowing stories to an official investigation into at least 20 murders stretching back to the 1980s.
The revelation in April that Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman is conducting an investigation into whether the murders could have been prevented has triggered legal claims against the Ministry of Defence and the man identified as the army’s highest ranking agent in the IRA.Detail of a mural on the corner of Falls Road, west Belfast, with an IRA warning for informers, in 1985. (Photograph: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)
At the heart of the tortuous history of double-crossing is Freddie Scappaticci, known as Stakeknife, who fled Belfast after being unmasked as a senior IRA commander during a terrorist trial in 1991. Scappaticci was later identified as an agent for British military intelligence, but has consistently denied being Stakeknife.
For decades, the victims’ families – smeared by accusations of disloyalty and reluctant even after the end of the Troubles to talk to the police – were left alone with their grief and disbelief.
That their relatives may have been sacrificed to protect the army’s most productive agent – Stakeknife – inside the IRA’s Internal Security Unit, or “nutting squad”, has begun to emerge only recently.
The ombudsman’s office is investigating about 300 cases of alleged collusion. The key issue is whether double agents within the IRA were permitted to commit crimes – even murder – in order to gain the trust of paramilitary organisations or sacrifice IRA members to protect their own position.
Among the victims were:
• Joseph Mulhern, whose bullet-pierced body was discovered in a ditch beside a remote border crossing in County Tyrone. The IRA volunteer’s hands had been tied with wire. Three weeks later, in July 1993, his father was handed a tape of the 22-year-old supposedly confessing to informing on IRA activities.
• Caroline Moreland, 34, a single mother of three, was last seen alive ironing in her kitchen. Six weeks before the IRA announced its 1994 ceasefire, she was abducted, tortured and shot dead in County Fermanagh. The family received a recording in which she admitted betraying the location of a hidden IRA rifle.
• Paddy Trainor, 29, disappeared from a drinking club in February 1981. He was blindfolded before being shot in the back of the head; his body was marked by cigarette burns. His sister could not bear to listen to the cassette tape.
Weeks after burying his son, Frank Mulhern said, Scappaticci came up to him. “He shook my hand and asked how things were,” Mulhern said. “He was asking if anyone was giving me hassle.
“I knew he was with the nutting squad. He told me he had been up [in Donegal] where my son was being held. When he got there [Joseph] was only wearing a cross and chain – no clothes. He said my son looked really tired and ordered he be given a wash, a shave and something to wear.Freddie Scappaticci - 'Stakeknife'
“Scappaticci knew about the two bullet wounds – to my son’s neck and head. I felt sick. Scap could have had me taken out and shot me if I did anything. He was a very powerful figure. If you were in the IRA and Scap was looking at you, your knees turned to water.”
The voice on the tape handed to the Mulhern family alternates between anxiety and resignation. Such recordings were meant to prove treachery but Joseph Mulhern’s statement was reminiscent of newsreel clips of a Stalinist show trial. In the confession, clearly extracted under duress, the young man introduces himself in a hesitant voice: “I’m a volunteer. My name is Joseph Mulhern. I’ve been working for the Special Branch this past three years.”
The tape stops and restarts several times. It ends in what sounds like a scripted plea: “I bitterly regret this past three years. I would urge anyone in this same predicament to come forward as there is no other way out.”
His father dismisses the recantation as fictitious. “I did not believe it,” Frank Mulhern said. “A few weeks earlier, Scappaticci had called around to see my son and had taken him to places where there were arms and explosives. The army later seized them.
“The IRA launched an investigation. The last two people to see the weapons had been Scap and my son. Obviously Scap did not fall under suspicion but my son did. His comrades in the IRA didn’t believe it. They all turned up for his funeral.” Some people nevertheless called his son a “tout” – slang for an informer.
Even after Stakeknife was exposed, the republican movement made no public apology. “The IRA will never admit anything,” Mulhern said. “They are like the British army; they are never wrong.”
He believes that, with an agent inside the IRA’s counter-intelligence unit, his son’s life could have been saved. “[Joseph] was held for two weeks, across the border. Why didn’t the handlers notify the Garda Síochána? They could have saved others’ lives, too. British intelligence was that far into the IRA, you wouldn’t know who was working for them.”
As evidence emerges, the scale of the security forces’ penetration of the province’s paramilitary organisations grows ever more astonishing. One informed source has estimated that by the end of the Troubles as many as 90% of loyalist and 50% of republican active paramilitaries had been recruited as informants.
The most thorough investigation into collusion, the De Silva report into the loyalist killing of the Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane, published in December 2012, described agent-handling guidelines for the army’s Force Research Unit (FRU) – which controlled Stakeknife – as “contradictory”.
MI5, Special Branch and the FRU operated separate regimes, Sir Desmond de Silva said. “Agent-handlers and their superiors were expected to gather intelligence without clear guidance as to the extent to which their agents could become involved in criminal activity,” he concluded. “Intelligence officers were … asked to perform a task that, in some cases, could not be achieved effectively in ways that were lawful.”
Scappaticci was allegedly not the only agent operating inside the provisional IRA’s security department. Other names have surfaced. An informer who survived an IRA execution squad, Martin McGartland, has alleged two of the guards who held him were also from “a protected species”.
Kevin Winters, at the Belfast firm KRW Law, which is coordinating relatives’ compensation claims against Scappaticci and the Ministry of Defence, suspects the absence of a legal framework was deliberate. “De Silva confirmed that collusion as a state practice did exist,” he explained. “It showed there was no oversight, no protocols and the cynical view was that that allowed agents to thrive.
“By killing people at a low level in the organisation, they were ingratiating themselves into the paramilitary structure. The families of those shot dead as informers felt they were beyond victim status because of the stigma attached to the deaths. That has now changed.”
Shauna Moreland, 30, last saw her mother ironing in the family’s kitchen in west Belfast. “My mother had trained as a nurse so if anybody [in the IRA] was injured and couldn’t go to hospital, they would be brought to her,” Shauna recalled.
“I said ‘cheerio’. She gave me a hug and a kiss. I went off to my grandmother. She said ‘See you tomorrow’. She was missing for 15 days. They tortured her. I was first told it was a case of mistaken identity. I never felt the stigma because I was too young. Years later I found letters from IRA men in prison sending condolences; they knew it was an injustice.
“I want answers. I’ve listened to the tape they sent. It keeps stopping and starting. I don’t believe she did it. Why didn’t the police go and free her? [Stakeknife’s] handlers must have known. MI5 made the bullets and the IRA fired them. She was a sacrificial lamb.”
Her older brother, Marc Moreland, 34, understood more at the time. “I was heartbroken,” he remembers. “It was born into us that we were republicans. You hated the army, you hated Protestants, you hated the Brits. The IRA was meant to be on your side; they were meant to protect you.
“I went round to the house of a local IRA man after my mother was killed. He had steel security gates at the bottom of his stairs. I must have been 14 or 15. He wouldn’t come out but his son, who was 18, did. I [hit] him. The next day, four or five guys in balaclavas came round and told me to get out of the area.”
Eileen Hughes, 68, remembers snow falling the day the body of her brother, Paddy Trainor, was found. “My mother was in hysterics,” she said. “Another brother went to identify him. He said [Paddy] was covered in cigarette burns.
“He was shot to cover up for someone else. My brother listened to the tape. It was Paddy’s voice but we didn’t believe it. They accused him of being an informer. He had been lifted a few times by the police and may have got the price of a drink off them but he was not an informer.”
Hughes’s son, Tony Kane, was shot dead in 1995 by a republican group linked to the IRA, supposedly for drug dealing. She had been summoned to a meeting some time before at which, she said, Scappaticci told her: “The next complaint I get about your son, I will put one in his head.” She added: “I would like to see Scappaticci charged. I used to know him; my best friend used to go out with him. His father sold ice-creams around the area. I blame the police and the government. They knew these kids were getting shot to cover for [Stakeknife].”
The MoD declined to comment on the allegations. Lawyers for Scappaticci did not respond to requests for comment. Scappaticci’s whereabouts is unknown.
The dead have a habit of haunting Northern Irish politics. “If a truth and reconciliation process had been delivered years ago,” said Winters, “we wouldn’t have all this civil litigation. If the government had said: ‘Yes, we saved lives, but we got things wrong as well … ’ It’s the blanket denial that’s the problem. The families just want to know what happened.”
30 May 2015Enda Kenny met Kingsmills relatives in Bessbrook on March 26A 80-year-old victim of the Kingsmills massacre has said the Taoiseach has broken promises he made two months ago to release Garda files on the atrocity.
Ten civilian workmen were murdered at Kingsmills in south Armagh by the IRA as they returned home from work in 1976.
The van used by the gunmen was stolen from Co Louth and the operation is understood to have been planned and executed from the Republic of Ireland.
May Quinn, whose brother Bobby Walker was one of those killed, said she was disappointed with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who came to Bessbrook on March 26 to promise the release of Garda files to the Belfast inquest for her brother.
“He promised he would have the files sent to us but what good is a promise if you don’t keep it?” she said. “It was just his way of getting off the hook.”
She said that BBC Panorama had reported on Thursday that the 1976 shootings took place in revenge for UVF murders the night before.
“But the HET report said that this was not true and that the Kingsmills shootings were planned many months beforehand,” she added.
Victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer welcomed the Taoiseach to Bessbrook on March 26. Weeks previously the Irish Department of Justice had persuaded him to cancel a controversial victims’ parade through Dublin, assuring him that the files would be released by the end of March.
“The Taoiseach has not fulfilled the promises he made to us in Bessbrook,” he said. “The excuses can only last so long. There are plenty of buses that victims can take down to Dublin.”
He questioned why Panorama did not mention Irish state collusion.
A spokesman for the Taoiseach said: “The Irish authorities remain in ongoing contact with the Northern Ireland Coroner’s Office and are anxious to ensure that records can be provided as soon as is possible in accordance with the law.”
• Mother of teenager killed in IRA bombing demands apology from murderer
• Paul Maxwell was a crew member on Mountbatten's Shadow V when killed
• Request from Mary Hornsey comes ahead of Prince Charles's visit to site**Please use the SITE SEARCH in the links to your right and type in 'Paul Maxwell' to see many more articles on this tragedy.
By Nicola ByrneDaily Mail
16 May 2015The mother of a teenage boy who died in the IRA bombing that killed Lord Mountbatten has asked his murderer to apologise for ‘the slaughter of children’ just days before Prince Charles’s visit to the site of the attack.
Paul Maxwell, a member of the crew on Mountbatten’s boat Shadow V, was 15 when he died in the 1979 attack. The other victims were Mountbatten’s 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and the Dowager Lady Brabourne, who was 83.
Mountbatten’s daughter Lady Brabourne and her husband Lord Brabourne were both injured but survived the blast, as did their son Timothy, Nicholas’s twin brother.
Bomb-maker Thomas McMahon is the only person to have been convicted for the attack, which happened after the boat party had set off from the fishing village of Mullaghmore in Donegal Bay.
McMahon served 18 years before being released in 1998 under the Good Friday peace agreement.Paul Maxwell (left) was 15 when he died in the IRA bomb explosion
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday
from her home outside Belfast, Paul’s mother, Mary Hornsey, said: ‘I would like him to apologise. I feel that if he has a conscience, he must have a great deal on his conscience because he killed two innocent boys.
‘What cause is great enough to warrant the slaughter of innocent children? It’s hard to know what is in Mr McMahon’s heart. If he were to lose one of his own children in such a sudden barbaric way, then maybe he would realise what an awful, heinous act he committed in taking my son from me.
‘I would like to ask him why he murdered my son – what purpose did it serve?’
At the time, Mrs Hornsey’s family lived in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland but had a summer house in Mullaghmore, where her son worked as a deckhand for Mountbatten.
She says Paul was a kind and gentle boy with friends from both sides of the religious divide in Northern Ireland.
Although Charles’s visit comes 36 years after the bombing, it is believed he has wanted to visit Mullaghmore for some time. He and the Duchess of Cornwall will arrive on Tuesday when they fly to Galway for a reception at the city’s university to celebrate the area’s links with Britain. Later they will be at a private dinner hosted by the Irish president, Michael D. Higgins, in Lough Cutra Castle in South Galway.
On Wednesday they will attend a service of peace and reconciliation at Drumcliffe church in Sligo.Mary Hornsey (right) and Donna Maxwell (left), the mother and sister of Paul Maxwell pictured at his funeral
Welcoming the Prince’s visit, Mrs Hornsey said: ‘He is extending the hand of friendship and showing a great deal of trust. I commend him.’ McMahon, who lives with his wife in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, works as a carpenter. He has ignored two requests from Paul Maxwell’s father, John, to meet.
Yesterday Mr Maxwell extended the invitation again, saying: ‘I’ve been asked do I forgive him? A lot depends on what he would say to me if I met him, which I would still consider doing.’
He added: ‘The Royal visit brings hope for the future.’
The Mail on Sunday tried to interview Mr McMahon last week. As he was leaving a hardware shop in Carrickmacross, our reporter asked him whether he had any regrets about the 1979 bombing.
He replied, ‘Good for you’ and walked back towards his car. He refused to comment on the Prince’s visit, before driving off at speed.Bomb-maker Thomas McMahon (right) is the only person to have been convicted for the attack
A massive security operation is under way in preparation for the Prince’s arrival, as reported in The Mail on Sunday last week.
On Thursday, Irish police revealed they had foiled a suspected Real IRA bomb plot that could have led to explosives being planted near an Army base north of the border.
Charles enjoyed a close relationship with Lord Mountbatten, his great-uncle, whom he looked upon as a father figure and mentor.
It emerged yesterday that MI5 believed the IRA planned to shoot down the Navy helicopter carrying Mountbatten’s body back from Ireland after the bombing.
One of the helicopter’s crewmen revealed that they were warned of such a plot. Colin Douglas, who was a lieutenant in the Fleet Air Arm, said: ‘The Security Service threat assessment for our task that day [was] “likely to come under attack.” ’
In March 1979, an Army helicopter was nearly downed by the IRA when it came under heavy machine-gun fire in South Armagh.Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma his two son-in-laws , grandchildren and Paul Maxwell returning from fishing at Mullaghmore, County Sligo
11 May 2015Pat Finucane was murdered by the UDA in 1989The Prime Minister’s refusal to hold a public inquiry in to the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was morally and legally indefensible, a court has been told.
A barrister representing Mr Finucane’s wife Geraldine alleged David Cameron rejected an inquiry into claims of state collusion with the loyalist paramilitary killers over fears of criticism from elements of the Conservative Party and the right-wing press in the UK.
Belfast High Court is hearing a judicial review by Mrs Finucane of the decision by Mr Cameron to rule out an inquiry into the 1989 UDA shooting in the city.
Opening the case before judge Mr Justice Stephens, Barry MacDonald QC said the murder was one of the “most notorious” of the Troubles.
“It is notorious for good reason,” he added. “The available evidence suggests that agents of the state responsible for law enforcement devised and operated a policy of extra-judicial execution, the essential feature of which was that loyalist terrorist organisations were infiltrated, resourced and manipulated in order to murder individuals identified by the state and their agents as suitable for assassination.
“In other words ‘murder by proxy’ whereby the state itself engaged in terrorism through the agency of loyalist paramilitaries.”
The barrister added: “The decision not to hold one (an inquiry) is indefensible both morally and legally.”
The solicitor’s family has long campaigned for a full independent public inquiry into the murder, but Mr Cameron has insisted such an exercise would not shed any more light on the events.
A Government-commissioned review of the controversial murder published by Sir Desmond de Silva detailed shocking levels of state involvement.
That included spreading malicious propaganda that Mr Finucane was sympathetic to the IRA; one or possibly more police officers proposing him as a target to loyalists; and the mishandling of state agents inside the UDA who were involved in the murder.
While Sir Desmond found no evidence of an overarching conspiracy by the authorities to target the 38-year-old lawyer, he said the actions of a number of state employees had “furthered and facilitated’’ the UDA shooting while there had also been efforts to thwart the subsequent criminal investigation.
As he accepted the report’s findings in the House of Commons in December 2012, Mr Cameron reiterated an apology to the Finucane family and also pledged that the Government would examine the review in detail to identify potential lessons.
Mr Finucane was gunned down in front of his wife Geraldine and their three children inside their north Belfast home in February 1989.
Mr MacDonald outlined details of the various collusion investigations that examined the Finucane murder in the years following the shooting.
He referred to Government papers that acknowledged the police and army engaged in an “active and significant obstruction” of an investigation carried out by former Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner Sir John Stevens.
The barrister also revealed that as well as three investigations carried out by Sir John, the Government conducted its own confidential assessment of the collusion claims in 1999 – a never-published document entitled the Langdon report.
The existence of the report emerged only during the legal discovery process ahead of the judicial review.
Mr MacDonald said all the various investigations detailed evidence that warranted examination in a public inquiry.
The barrister then focused on a commitment made by the UK Government at Weston Park in 2001 during peace process negotiations with the Irish government.
The Weston Park talks resulted in Canadian judge Peter Cory being asked to examine the grounds for public inquiry in a number of controversial Troubles deaths.
The Government said such inquiries would be implemented if the judge recommended that course of action.
Judge Cory subsequently did recommend public inquiries for a number of killings, including Mr Finucane’s.
But while the Government ordered inquiries into the other deaths, it has not given the green light for one in the Finucane case.
Mr Finucane’s son John and daughter Katherine were in court for Monday’s hearing, as was the murdered solicitor’s brother Seamus.
'...knowing that Oisin's heart still beats on in someone else'
By Victoria O'Hara Belfast Telegraph
08 May 2015Oisin McGrath died after sustaining head injuries during incident while at schoolThe parents of a teenager who died after he was injured at school have spoken of how their grief has been eased by a decision to donate his organs - and that "his heart still beats on".
Oisin McGrath (13) died after sustaining serious head injuries in February during an incident after playing a game of football at St Michael's College in Enniskillen.
He was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast but died three days later. His parents Sharon and Nigel from Belcoo, Co Fermanagh, made the brave decision to donate the organs of their son - who was a talented and keen sportsman - to save the lives of five other people.
They have now set up Oisin's Foundation "to keep his spirit alive" through raising awareness of organ donation. They also aim to raise funds for brain injury research and to help develop sporting initiatives for young people. Sharon (42) described the death of her son as "devastating" but said her family hoped Oisin's story would inspire others to support organ donation. "We get some comfort knowing that his heart still beats on and that something positive has come out of this," she told the Belfast Telegraph.
"It was the right thing to do, we feel, knowing Oisin's generosity of spirit that he would have wanted us to do it."
Sharon, a technical services manager for South West College, said: "We hope it will encourage everyone to talk about it as a family so that each is clear how other family members feel about it. There are so many people who will die without transplants, we want to work to try to prevent other families having to suffer the loss of loved ones."
Sharon said it was "a difficult decision" to donate Oisin's organs.
"It was something that we probably knew we would do even from when it was first discussed. It was a devastating time for us and we were initially reluctant to even speak to the specialist nurse for organ donation, but looking back that was more about not wanting to believe what had happened and also because we were still fighting for our son, praying and willing him to pull through. If Oisin's life could have been saved by someone else's organs we would have grabbed that opportunity, so how could we not allow Oisin to give this gift to others? Oisin gave the gift of life to five people."
A 17-year-old boy had been interviewed in relation to the incident and was later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service. Meanwhile, this Sunday a special GAA match will take place in memory of Oisin with donations going towards the new foundation.
The match between Fermanagh and Sligo's senior football teams will take place at 6.30pm at Brewster Park in Enniskillen. The family have also received a message from the Fermanagh GAA manager Pete McGrath, who spoke of being moved by the look of determination in a photograph of Oisin playing football and how others can be inspired by it.
"The intent and single-mindedness clearly emanating from his facial expression can be a lesson and inspiration to us all not only in terms of what is needed to succeed in football, but also as regards what is needed to fulfil our potential in life - energy, enthusiasm, determination and a genuine love for whatever we channel our God-given talents towards," Mr McGrath wrote.
"I hope that all of Fermanagh's young footballers can draw inspiration from Oisin's short but marvellously full life - and from this iconic photograph."
"Jock Davison entered our lives uninvited and took Robert's life". Robert McCartney's siblings condemn Jock Davison's killing but are sickened by tributes
By Suzanne Breen Belfast Telegraph
07 May 2015Robert McCartney’s sisters Catherine (left) and Paula were interviewed by our reporter yesterdayThe sisters of Robert McCartney have said their campaign for justice has now ended after the murder of Gerard 'Jock' Davison, whom they believe gave the order to kill their brother.
"We wanted Jock to face justice in a courtroom, not down the barrel of a gun," said Catherine McCartney.
"But the type of justice we hoped for has eluded us. We will never see Jock standing in the dock now.
"Our campaign for Robert is effectively over because Jock's death means he can never be held accountable for what he did that night."
Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, the McCartney sisters condemned Davison's murder.
The former IRA commander was shot dead on Tuesday morning near his home in the Markets area of Belfast.
Catherine said: "Murder is wrong and can never be justified. As a family, we condemn Jock's murder. But we are sickened that politicians are pretending that he was a saint.
"This man brought death and destruction into our family and into many families across Belfast. It is nauseating that politicians from a range of parties are trying to whitewash his murderous past."
Another sister, Paula McCartney, said: "We have no sympathy for Jock Davison but we do have sympathy for his family. They are now grieving just like we grieved 10 years ago. They now know the pain of losing a loved one."
Robert McCartney, a 33-year-old father-of-two from the Short Strand, was stabbed to death by IRA members outside Magennis's bar in Belfast in January 2005.
His five sisters stepped forward to challenge the Provisionals and the code of omerta which ruled in working-class nationalist areas.
Their impassioned campaign for justice took them across the world, including Strasbourg and Washington where they met President Bush.
The McCartneys have always insisted that Jock Davison gave the order for their brother's murder - a claim he denied.
They say that after the fight broke out in the bar, Davison drew a finger across his throat to indicate to his henchmen what he wanted done to Robert and his friend, Brendan Devine.
Both men were followed into Market Street where they were beaten, kicked, stabbed and left to die. Devine survived but McCartney died in hospital nine hours later.
Catherine said: "Jock Davison didn't wield the knife that killed my brother but we hold him more responsible than the Provo who frenetically stabbed Robert.
"Jock Davison chose to let the mad dog off the leash."
Paula said: "Had Jock Davison not been in Magennis's bar that night, Robert would be alive today.
"The fight in the bar would still have happened but that is all it would have been, a fight.
"At worst, Robert would have been left with bruises and a bloody nose. There would not have been a dead body. It was Jock Davison who chose to turn it into something far more deadly that night.
"As a family we are still living with the repercussions of Jock's actions. We can't even visit Robert's grave. I went a few times but found no comfort there - it was too traumatic."
The McCartney sisters said they were incensed at politicians paying tribute to Davison as a respected and valued community worker.
Catherine said: "Jock is obviously a loss to his family but he is not a loss to the community.
"Jock Davison wasn't a positive person in the community. His legacy to the community is one of death and mutilation. He was involved in numerous murders and punishment beatings.
"There are dozens of families who lost loved ones because of him or who had loved ones beaten to a pulp in alleyways in the dark of night.
"This is a so-called community worker who put people in early graves. Yet nobody is mentioning his victims.
"Had this been Mark Haddock, politicians wouldn't be getting away with spouting this rubbish. I view Jock Davison no differently to Mark Haddock. To whitewash this man's legacy is an insult to his victims. How dare they."
Haddock is a notorious former loyalist terrorist and police informer who was jailed for 12 years last June in London for a knife attack on friend and fellow informer Terry Fairfield. The former Mount Vernon UVF leader has been linked to 21 murders but never convicted of any.
The McCartneys said they were particularly disgusted at Alliance's South Belfast Westminster candidate, Paula Bradhsaw, who expressed "extra sadness" at Davison's murder, stating: "I knew Gerard through the community sector and of his hard work for the Markets community."
Catherine said: "Is that all it takes to wipe out somebody's murderous past, for a politician to cut a yellow ribbon with them at a community event?
"Paula Bradshaw's crass comment illustrates how badly victims are treated in Northern Ireland.
"Politicians bemoaning the loss of Jock Davison is highly offensive to bereaved families sitting at home with empty chairs because of him." The McCartneys also lambasted the police for their comments about Davison.
Detective chief inspector Justyn Galloway said that although Davison, like many people in Northern Ireland, had a past "that is in the past".
Catherine said: "I am appalled at Justyn Galloway's statement. It contradicts everything the PSNI has told us. The police never informed us that Robert's murder investigation was over.
"The police had evidence against Jock Davison. For us, he remained a central suspect in a murder investigation. By these comments it feels like the police had already relegated Robert to the dustbin of history.
"But maybe if a murderer puts on a community worker hat, sits down and has tea and buns with the police, the slate is wiped clean."
In 2008, three men went on trial in connection with Robert's death. Terry Davison, Jock's uncle, was charged with murder; Jim McCormick and Joe Fitzpatrick with causing an affray. All three were found not guilty.
The McCartneys alleged that the police never had any interest in bringing Robert's killers to justice and the prosecution was "just window-dressing".
Catherine said: "Jock was the person we most wanted in the dock because the murder was carried out at his behest.
"But we felt the police were never interested in seriously going after him.
"We felt he was protected. We repeatedly asked detectives if he was an informer. We were just told the issue of informers was irrelevant to the investigation."
The sisters believe that Davison's senior rank in the IRA meant that the organisation initiated a cover-up after Robert's murder, destroying vital evidence.
"Had it been just run-of-the-mill Provos involved, our family would have had a far greater chance of achieving justice," Catherine said.
"But Jock's senior position in the movement meant they were never going to just spit him out."
While Davison was publicly expelled by the IRA for events in Magennis's bar, Catherine said the presence of senior republicans on the ground after his shooting on Tuesday, and the warm tributes paid to him, showed that he remained intricately involved with the organisation.
She said: "Jock Davison entered our lives uninvited 10 years ago. He took away Robert's precious life.
"Had Jock been held accountable by the state for his many murderous actions, justice would never have been meted out to him on the streets.
"I see his murder as an unfortunate, awful result of what happens when the system fails victims.
"You can't leave people without justice."
Paula added: "Had the police acted on evidence, Jock Davison would now be doing time in Maghaberry jail.
"By not upholding the rule of law, the authorities have paved the way for mafia law on the streets."
Detectives investigating shooting of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison in central Belfast detain 41-year-old man
Henry McDonaldThe Guardian
6 May 2015Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a 41-year-old man in connection with the murder of former IRA commander Gerard ”Jock” Davison.
The man was detained in Belfast on Wednesday morning. Police also searched a flat in the north of the city on Tuesday night in connection with the killing.
Within hours of the fatal shooting in the Markets area of central Belfast, detectives ruled out involvement of hardline anti-peace process republican organisation or loyalist paramilitaries.Murder scene of Gerard ”Jock” Davison
The murder took place at the corner of Welsh Street and Upper Stanfield Street, close to an office where Davison was employed as a community worker.
Local people reported children screaming, with one shouting: “Daddy, Daddy” when the gunman fired at the ex-IRA activist. The gunman, who witnesses said was wearing a hooded jacket that concealed his face, escaped by running up an alleyway.
Shortly after the shooting several senior republicans from across Belfast visited the inner-city area to support Davison’s family and friends.
Davison is the most senior pro-peace process republican to have been killed since the IRA ceasefire of 1997. Security sources said it was unlikely that any Ulster loyalist group was behind the murders, adding that the killer may have come from the nationalist community and possibly had a longstanding grudge against the victim.
The investigating officer, DCI Justyn Galloway, issued a fresh appeal on Wednesday for information about the killing. “This was a cold-blooded murder carried out in broad daylight in a residential area and it has no place in the new Northern Ireland. The suspect was detained in Belfast this morning and is being questioned at a police station in the city. A property in north Belfast was searched last night as part of the overall investigation,” he said.
“I would again appeal to people who were in the Welsh Street area at 9am yesterday, and who have information about the shooting, to talk to detectives at Musgrave police station.”
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
5 May 2015
**Please see this search page to find results for past stories about Robert McCartney on this journal: GOOGLE SITE SEARCHGerard "Jock" Davison was shot several times on Tuesday morning (Pacemaker)A central Irish Republican Army figure in one of the outlawed group's most notorious killings has been shot to death in Belfast, residents and police said Tuesday.
No group claimed responsibility for shooting Gerard "Jock" Davison at short range outside his home in the Markets neighborhood of south-central Belfast.
Davison was a Belfast IRA commander when he allegedly ordered IRA comrades in 2005 to attack a man, Robert McCartney. McCartney's widow and four sisters took their demands for justice all the way to the White House, and their embarrassing campaign helped spur the IRA to renounce violence and disarm later that year.
Davison was arrested on suspicion of ordering the killing but not charged. Two others, including his uncle Terence Davison, were charged with McCartney's murder but acquitted in 2008.
McCartney's sisters accused Gerard Davison of making a throat-slashing gesture to his IRA colleagues in the crowded pub shortly before McCartney, 33, was fatally stabbed outside the pub. IRA members confiscated the pub's surveillance video footage, cleaned up the forensic evidence and ordered pub-goers to tell police nothing or risk IRA retaliation, according to police and court testimony.
IRA representatives met McCartney's widow and sisters and offered to have the IRA members responsible killed as punishment, an offer they rejected. The IRA and its allied Sinn Fein party later announced they had expelled three IRA members and eight Sinn Fein members over their alleged role in the assault on McCartney and the evidence cover-up.
Davison's body lay in the street Tuesday outside his home until police covered it with a sheet, then constructed a tent around the scene of the killing to preserve forensic evidence.
Most IRA members are observing a 1997 cease-fire in support of Northern Ireland's peace process. But splinter groups continue to mount bombings and shootings and feuds within their fractured ranks can turn deadly.
In Northern Ireland's last fatal shooting, a former Belfast commander of a faction called the Continuity IRA was killed in April 2014 in Catholic west Belfast.