Republican News · Thursday 14 October 1999

[An Phoblacht]

Who killed our loved ones?

``We have lost our young ones in circumstances unknown to us. How can we move on without knowing the truth?''
By Pádraig MacDabhaid

``Firstly we want to know where are the people who killed our loved ones? Are they still in the RUC? Are they still in the British Army? More importantly, will they be members of the new police service proposed by Chris Patten? We believe they should not be.''

Teresa and Hugh Jordan, Sam McLarnon, and Rosemary Rooney at the press conference to launch SAVE

Such are some of the concerns of the new relatives group, Survivors And Victims for Equality (SAVE).

SAVE was launched at a press conference in Belfast on Friday 8 October and is made up of people who have had relatives killed by the RUC and feel they have been ignored because the killers were members of the British Army, the RUC or of loyalist death squads acting in collusion with the crown forces.

``Over the past few weeks, a number of us have been meeting to discuss how best we can make a positive contribution to the peace process,'' said Rosemary Rooney, whose brother, IRA Volunteer Colum Marks, was shot dead by the RUC in 1991. ``We concluded the best and most effective way is to secure justice for our loved ones who were killed. Our group is made up of people whose relatives were killed by plastic bullets or shot dead by the RUC, the British Army or loyalists. It involves people whose relatives were in the IRA and who were deliberately killed.

``The British crown forces had prior knowledge about the operation in which my brother Colum was involved. They blocked all the escape routes, shot him and handcuffed him. He was only minutes away from the hospital but they would not take him there. Why did they decide to murder him rather than arrest him? We demand to know the truth.''

Hugh Jordan, whose son, IRA Volunteer Pearse Jordan, was also killed by the RUC, explained that his son was unarmed when he was shot almost seven years ago.

``The inquest hasn't been completed. The only result that can come out of the inquest is when and where Pearse was murdered and who he was. I want to see the inquest system changed so that people can be brought to justice,'' he said.

``Patten's proposals are inadequate,'' said Eddie Maginn, whose 17-year-old brother Gerard was shot dead by the RUC. ``It's not one or two rotten apples. It is more a case of the whole orchard being rotten from root to branch. The RUC must be disbanded.''

This was a sentiment echoed by Sam McLarnon, whose father was murdered by the RUC in his Ardoyne home in 1969.

``We were never given the name of the man who murdered our father. Quite simply, Patten's report does not meet our needs.''

The relatives intend to ccontinue their campaigns to find out who murdered their loved ones and expose ``those who did the shooting, those who ordered the shooting and those who failed to carry out a thorough investigation into the killings''.

Members of SAVE were extremely angry at those in the establishment who have told them to move on and not to hark back to the past.

``We have lost our young ones in circumstances unknown to us. How can we move on without knowing the truth?'' said Rosemary Rooney.

The relatives went to great pains to stress that they were not about countering other victims groups. ``We have no difficulty with other relatives groups, irrespective of what part their loved ones played in the conflict,'' said Hugh Jordan. ``We are merely seeking the same opportunity to argue our case.''

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