Police Ombudsman’s report just the tip of the iceberg

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
24 November 2006

The report published by the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, on collusion between the RUC and PSNI and loyalist paramilitaries, in particular with the UVF in north Belfast, is just the tip of the iceberg.
     It has been known for decades throughout the North, and in particular in Catholic working-class communities, that such collusion was real and widespread. The Police Ombudsman investigated ten murders, numerous attempted murders and a bomb attack in Co. Monaghan carried out by members of the UVF under the control of the Special Branch.
     This collusion reached the highest levels, as can been seen from the fact that three retired Deputy Chief Constables refused to co-operate with the investigation, and twenty-four officers were questioned under caution.
     The report vindicates the stance taken by the families of many of the victims as well as the numerous campaigning groups and political parties that have fought hard to bring that collusion into the open and to bring those responsible to justice. This is not just a case of a few bad apples, but rather it exposes the fact that collusion was endemic to both the RUC and PSNI Special Branch and the British intelligence service MI5. This was clearly policy, and responsibility must rest with the political masters in London.
     The British government’s dismissal of the calls for a public inquiry is just another example in a long line of attempts to cover its tracks and to keep hidden its role and responsibility for the use of state terrorism. The demand for a full public inquiry has cross-community support, and such an inquiry would go a long way towards winning public confidence in policing.
     Collusion uncovered in north Belfast is not the full story. A full public inquiry into the use of state terrorism throughout the North is absolutely necessary for overcoming decades of political policing.
     Serious questions now arise over the role of the former RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan, who came from the Special Branch and is now Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Britain itself.

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