SDLP deputy leader Dolores Kelly has called on the Six-County justice minister to probe the investigation into the murder of journalist Martin O’Hagan, describing the lack of action as “unacceptable”.
The Sunday World journalist was shot dead in Lurgan, County Armagh, in front of his wife in September 2001 as he walked home from a night out. There have been allegations of collusion in the murder.
The Upper Bann Assembly member said that there were serious concerns about the case after the only man ever to be convicted in relation to the killing, Neil Hyde, was released from jail. Hyde was taken from jail to begin a new life in England after completing half of a reduced sentenced.
Hyde was given just three years after pleading guilty to 48 offences including withholding information in relation to the 2001 murder.
Hyde agreed to become an “assisting offender” in 2009 in return for a reduced jail term and a new life for both him and his family in the witness protection scheme. However, three years later there have still been no charges brought in relation to information provided by the Lurgan loyalist.
Hyde was transferred from isolation in Maghaberry Prison last week for a new life in England.
The killed journalist’s sister Joanne Tobin said the family had been “left in limbo with no answers and no justice”.
Mrs Kelly said that there were serious concerns in her constituency about the case as she called on David Ford to investigate.
“There is a wider justice issue here that impacts not just the O’Hagen family but on many other victims as well,” she said.
“The delays in this case are unacceptable and the family have had their hopes raised on several occasions, coupled with the fact that the dogs in the street know who was responsible.
“There have always been concerns in Lurgan about the number of police informers within that particular nest of vipers.
“It is right that this matter be raised with the justice minister,” Mrs Kelly said.