A speech given by the sister of one of four IRA men shot dead by the SAS in the carpark of St Patrick’s Church in Clonoe, should be used as a motivating factor for politicians to agree a “comprehensive process” for dealing with the past, a victims’ campaign group has stated.
Roisín Uí Mhuirí addressed a conference hosted by Relatives for Justice earlier this week, where the theme was ‘Dealing with the Past - A Contributor to Peace’.
The Coalisland woman, whose brother Kevin Barry O’Donnell, died in the attack on February 16 1992 along with Peter Clancy, Sean O’Farrell and Patrick Vincent, gave an impassioned account of the continuing battle the men’s families face in having an inquest held into their deaths.
Ms Uí Mhuirí also accused the British government of using “stalling tactics” to ensure the four men “will never have a voice”.
“For 22 years we have been in limbo waiting for an inquest”, Ms Uí Mhuirí told the conference.
“These years of limbo have taken a toll on all our families - Peter Clancy’s mother, father and brother have died without closure, Sean O’Farrell’s father has died without closure, Patrick Vincent’s father has died without closure. My own frail father is now suffering from dementia and will never get the thing that he needed so much, the one thing that probably unites all victims of this conflict - the truth.”
Calling on the PSNI and Ministry of Defence to release all evidence to the families’ legal teams, Ms Uí Mhuirí continued: “We need a properly funded, independent inquest that is article 2 compliant. We need full legal aid representation equal to that of the state. We need the PSNI and Ministry of Defence to release all evidence to our legal teams.
“We need to find the truth. We need the state to admit its full role during the conflict. This need gnaws away at my family - likewise with the families of Peter, Sean, Patrick and many more families here today. “For me It’s a book I can’t close. We need the truth so that we can begin to heal.
“We need the truth now so that the next generation can fully participate in their future without worrying about the past.”
Relatives for Justice said Ms Uí Mhuirí’s speech “persuasively argues for a victims centred and human rights compliant approach” to dealing with the past.
“Given the ongoing failure to negotiate a comprehensive process to deal with our past this speech is timely and an argument for all parties to remain focussed until agreement is reached”, they added.