Irish Republican News · December 15, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Police reform `undermined' by return to Gough

An infamous interrogation centre is still being used by British forces despite its official closure last year.

Paramilitaries have been questioned at Gough Barracks in Armagh in January and September of this year. The site, where Republican prisoners reported being tortured at the hands of their RUC police captors, was earmarked for closure in the Patten report on policing reform.

In his latest report detailing progress in the implementation of the reform process, the oversight commissioner Tom Constantine criticised the continued operation of Gough.

In his report, released earlier this week, Mr Constantine said: ``The Police Service now considers Gough Barracks not as closed, but rather as a ``mothballed'' facility, and Gough is essentially equipped and ready to be re-opened on short notice.

``This not only fails to meet the Independent Commission's intent with respect to Gough but also any standard definition of a `closed' facility.''

The oversight commissioner said his role had been undermined by the revelation.

``The issue is that once we are informed that a recommendation has been implemented, and subsequently shown that it has been implemented, the entire reform monitoring process is undermined if accomplishments are then undone without the necessary officials being made aware,'' he said.

``The Policing Board has recognised the lack of notification as a problem, and is establishing a process that will ensure immediate notification takes place as required. As it stands, the Independent Commission's recommendation with respect to the closure of Gough Barracks is not fulfilled.''


Meanwhile, Ebrington Barracks in Derry has finally closed, according to reports.

Ownership of the 29-acre site which overlooks the River Foyle has now transferred to the North's First and Deputy First Minister.

The barracks was used by the British army as a key strategic base for soldiers patrolling the streets of Derry following the battle of the Bogside. It was frequenly attacked by the IRA.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News