The family of a Catholic man murdered in Bangor last year have demanded to know why they the PSNI police never went public on the sectarian nature of the killing.
Michael O’Hare was killed in a fire at his flat in Bangor, Co Down, on March 1 last year. His family were unaware until the report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) was published this week that there was any paramilitary link to the killing.
The IMC did not make contact before publishing its report on paramilitary activity on Tuesday, despite the family seeking an update on the case from the PSNI police three days earlier.
By contrast, the British government delayed publication of the Cory Report into four controversial murders while people named in the reports were informed.
Mr O’Hare’s family were shocked that his name was listed in the report without their knowledge.
“I am absolutely stunned that someone can have all this information and we don’t know anything. Where did the IMC get this information from? The police never said it was paramilitary,” the victim’s mother Angela Noble said.
“Why didn’t the IMC contact me? I am very annoyed. There is information coming from somewhere... I have been told nothing,” she added.
The PSNI have now publicly confirmed for the first time that they believe the murder to have been sectarian, but have not confirmed that it was paramilitary.
In a statement issued through solicitor Adrian Travers, the family said: “The family of the late Michael O’Hare wish to reiterate their shock and anger at the content of the IMC report regarding the death of their son.
“The family feel they should have been consulted by the IMC before the release of the report because prior to the release of the said report there was no suggestion of any paramilitary involvement in their son’s death from any quarter.
“The report has caused them considerable distress and they have instructed their solicitor to pursue the matter with the IMC.”
The IMC declined to apologise to the O’Hare for the distress caused.