Questions mount as truth process stalls
Questions mount as truth process stalls

The family of a Derry man say they will lobby outside Downing Street if police are not given clearance to question MI5 about his death.

Relatives of 31-year-old Kieran Doherty -- who was shot dead in February this year -- spoke out following a meeting with the British Secretary of State Owen Paterson in Belfast on Monday.

The family asked for the meeting to discuss the harassment of Mr Doherty by MI5 in the months before his murder.

The father-of-one was found murdered on the Braehead Road on the outskirts of Derry.

The Real IRA later admitted the killing and claimed Mr Doherty was a member of the organisation. It claimed he had admitted his involvement in a cannabis factory uncovered by gardai in Donegal.

The Real IRA said he had denied working for MI5 but they believed MI5 had played some role in the drugs factory to “blacken the IRA’s name and link us to the drugs trade which we abhor”.

The family denied he was involved in the drugs trade.

Mr Doherty’s father Aidan Coyle, sister Lindsay Doherty and uncle Vincent Coyle were accompanied to the meeting by Foyle MP Mark Durkan. Speaking after the meeting, Vincent Coyle said they wanted the PSNI to have access to everyone who might have information -- including MI5 personnel.

“The family have alleged that MI5 were carrying out surveillance and were harassing Kieran.

“There are an awful lot of questions we need answers for. If MI5 are outside the police people are going to say, ‘why should we support the police?’”


And there have been renewed calls for an independent inquiry into the murder of North Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane -- at the United States House of Representatives.

The demand was made by the President of the National Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, Seamus Boyle, as he addressed the Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on International Organisations, Human Rights and Oversight.

Last week’s meeting focused on ‘Peace, Reconciliation, and Human Rights in the North of Ireland’ and saw Mr Boyle call on the British government to completely implement the Good Friday Agreement, along with a Bill of Rights for the Stormont Assembly and an international truth recovery process.

However, Mr Boyle also referred to previous meetings which had been addressed by members of the Finucane family, where they slammed legislation that prevented the truth about the 1989 murder from being uncovered.

Calling for a truth recovery process, which he stated would “provide resolution” for many of the families bereaved in the Troubles, Mr Boyle said such a move could prevent the constant stalling of the peace process as past killings were reviewed.

“The purpose of such a truth and reconciliation committee is to accelerate the coming together of the communities that suffered the most in the recently concluded conflict.

“The huge backlog of cases and investigations, along with new accusations occurring almost daily, will paralyse the peace process if we do not find a solution soon.

“The refusal to deal with these cases while delaying and backtracking on truth and reconciliation is almost certainly an attempt to cover up for those in the British security forces who supported the systemic actions of these same forces during the conflict.”


Meanwhile, the Ballymurphy Massacre families took their campaign for justice to Stormont this week where they launched a new leaflet detailing events surrounding the killings.

The families were joined in Parliament Buildings’ Great Hall by West Belfast MP Gerry Adams and relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday.

Members of the British army’s Parachute Regiment murdered 11 people in the Ballymurphy Massacre, including a local priest and a mother of eight children. The massacre took place over a 36-hour period during the introduction of internment without trial in August 1971.

Six months later the same regiment murdered 14 people in Derry’s Bogside area in what became known as Bloody Sunday. Six months after that they killed another five people in West Belfast’s Springhill area, including a second Catholic priest.

Speaking at the launch of the leaflet, which is entitled ‘Time for Our Truth’, Briege Voyle of the Ballymurphy Massacre families said the leaflet was a chance to spread the word about their campaign further afield.

“This leaflet tells everyone the story that our loved ones were murdered over a three-day period and that we need answers now and we need the truth to be told,” said Briege, whose mother Joan Connolly was shot four times and killed as she tried to administer aid and comfort to fatally wounded teenager Noel Phillips.

“This year alone we have got the support of the Catholic Church which was a great thing for us because really now we need to up our campaign. We have been campaigning for the last three years and we think with this new leaflet now’s the chance to bring out the campaign even more.

“From here on in we are hoping to meet with Owen Patterson (Secretary of State) in October. We have asked for a meeting with David Cameron, and we’re hoping to go Capitol Hill, Washington DC, in December.”

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