New information on killings ignored by PSNI

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A year after a breakthrough documentary was broadcast on the case, the father of two brothers killed by loyalists almost 30 years ago has confirmed that the PSNI failed to take any action on the new information.

Eighteen-year-old Rory Cairns and his 22-year-old brother Gerard were shot dead in the living room of their home in rural County Armagh in October 1993.

The brothers were killed shortly after a family celebration to mark the eleventh birthday of their 11-year-old sister Róisín, who witnessed the killings.

Three suspected British agents have been linked to the case, which was featured in a BBC Spotlight investigation last year.

Loyalist paramilitary Laurence Maguire admitted to the documentary makers he had been involved in a previous attempt to target the Cairns family. That attack, which was planned by former UVF leader and suspected agent Robin Jackson, was aborted.

He also revealed that all targeting information came from the PSNI (then RUC) police who passed the information to Billy Wright, the unionist paramilitary gang leader known as ‘King Rat’ who was also on the RUC and British Army payroll.

Jackson and Wright, who are both now dead, were among nine loyalists arrested after the murders of the Cairns brothers, but released without charge.

The family believe another man, Alan Oliver, also an alleged former state agent, was one of the killers. Oliver has never been convicted for any offence despite facing allegations of involvement in approximately 15 murders.

The father of the two young men, Eamon Cairns, said that since the show was aired the PSNI has failed to speak to the programme’s makers, Laurence Maguire or make any contact with the Cairns family.

“This new information should have immediately warranted the reopening of a fresh independent investigation by the authorities, yet there has been absolutely no action,” he said.

Mr Cairns believes RUC failures to bring those responsible to account “was to protect agents and their handlers”. He also believes that his family has been “failed by three investigations” involving the RUC/PSNI, Historical Enquiries Team and the Police Ombudsman.

Earlier this year British Direct Ruler Barndon Lewis turned down a request by the Cairns family for a public inquiry into the murders. They have since launched a judicial review.

Lawyer Fearghal Shiels said such an inquiry should investigate not only the “compelling” evidence of state collusion with the mid-Ulster UVF in their murders, but also why the Cairns family were “failed miserably” by “every single organ of the state” which claimed to have investigated the murders over a period of almost three decades, “yet inexplicably found no evidence of collusion”.

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