Irish Republican News · September 14, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Report due on death of Billy Wright

A 700-Page report into the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) execution of unionist paramilitary leader Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright is to be published later today.

The report into how the INLA murdered the Loyalist Volunteer Force leader inside Long Kesh prison on December 27, 1997 will be released after British Direct Ruler Owen Paterson reads a statement about its findings in the House of Commons.

The Wright family has claimed British state collusion in his killing. The inquiry was one of four established after a report by retired Canadian judge, Justice Peter Cory.

Its terms of reference were “to inquire into the death of Billy Wright with a view to determining whether any wrongful act or omission by or within the prison authorities or other state agencies facilitated his death, or whether attempts were made to do so; whether any such act or omission was intentional or negligent; and to make recommendations.”

Key questions were why Wright, viewed as a loyalist maverick and opponent of the peace process, and other LVF members were housed in the same H-Block as the INLA; how the INLA was able to smuggle in guns to kill him; why an important CCTV camera was not working; why a prison officer on watchtower duty was not on duty; and how the three-men INLA killer team was able to cut through a wire fence to get to the area where Wright was sitting in a prison van and shoot him dead.

Speaking in advance of the Inquiry’s report being published, Sinn Fein Assembly member for Upper Bann John O’Dowd said that “the victims of Wright’s gang continue to seek the truth about Billy Wright and his associates and the relationship with RUC Special Branch and the murky world of British intelligence.”

“Billy Wright and his gang were responsible for numerous murders of innocent Catholics across a number of counties,” said Mr O’Dowd.

“Wright’s gang in particular was also closely linked to unionist politicians including Harold McCusker and Willie McCrea. Indeed in the aftermath of the public defence of Wright by Willie McCrea at the infamous Portadown rally the Wright gang continued to kill Catholics.

“Most nationalists are of the firm view that Billy Wright and the gang he led were controlled, directed and manipulated by British State Agencies. The fact is as was the case with the Mount Vernon UVF the Mid-Ulster UVF under Wright, Richard Jameson and Robin Jackson were allowed to kill with impunity.

“That is the murky world that Wright operated in. The families of the victims of Wright and his gang want the truth revealed about his activities when alive, including his links to the unionist political establishment and British State Agencies.

“It would be no surprise to anyone if the State was involved in Wright’s death given the fact they were such an integral part of his life and his activities.”

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