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Friday, February 23, 2018

Strong support urged for ‘March for Truth’

Posted by Jim on February 3, 2018

Victims of the conflict have announced plans for a mass march in Belfast
to demand action on efforts to deal with the legacy of the conflict.

A number of groups representing relatives bereaved at different times
have come together under the banner “Time for Truth” and urged people to
join their protest on February 25.

It comes as various attempts to bring closure to conflict killings have
failed due to a refusal to provide resources or the legal constraint of
“national security”.

Announcing the march, Emma Rogan, whose father Adrian was shot dead in
the UVF Loughinisland massacre in County Down in 1994, said the truth
cost nothing.

“I am calling on everyone to come out, put your feet on the streets and
march with us,” she said. “Solidarity, everybody together sending a
strong clear message that we deserve and we need the truth. It’s human
decency that people would get the truth and know what happened to their
loved ones and know why.”

She added: “I was eight years old when my father was murdered. He was
34, not much older than I am now. For him and his memory, and for his
legacy, I require the truth and I need the truth for him.

“He was afforded no dignity in his death. He lay dying along with five
other men on a pub floor in ’94 while they watched the World Cup. The
truth costs nothing, the truth belongs to everybody.”

At the launch event, John Teggart, whose father Danny was killed by
soldiers in Ballymurphy in west Belfast in 1971, rejected the suggestion
the march would only represent one side of the community.

“It is open to all families irrespective of their backgrounds who lost
loved ones or who were injured in the conflict,” he said.

“We are calling on all sections of society to support the Time for Truth
march, the pursuit of the truth is a matter for all society. This covers
all walks of life – all victims under the one banner.”

New evidence emerged this week that the PSNI have secretly been
withholding files containing evidence supplied by the British Minister
of Defence from as far back as 2007. The police have claimed they didn’t
know they had the database in their possession, and admitted it had not
been included when providing intelligence material for conflict-related
inquests.

Sinn Fein described the development as “staggering”. Republican Network
for Unity said it was “just another cover up within an act of
collusion”.

A number of completed inquests which could be impacted by the
revelation. Padraig O Muirigh, who has represented families in four
completed inquests as well as several pending cases, said it was
“astonishing”.

“Once again there are serious question marks about how the PSNI have
handled legacy cases in the coroners court and related proceedings,” he
said.

“The families I represent have no confidence in the PSNI, or indeed MoD,
fulfilling their obligations with respect to legacy inquests and
consideration should be given to some independent oversight of the
disclosure process.”

Mike Ritchie of Relatives for Justice also said it “beggars belief that
nobody thought that this information would be relevant for inquests”,
while Paul O’Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre said “there are going to
be a large number of families that have serious questions”.

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said the PSNI’s explanation was not acceptable.
“They still haven’t clarified who decided not to tell the disclosure
unit,” he said.

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