A gun and ammunition possibly used by a collusion gang and handed into a PSNI station last week went ‘missing’ at the station for four days.
The gun, believed to be a .38 revolver, was found by workmen along with 200 rounds of ammunition at a house near Moy last Easter Monday. It was handed over to the PSNI in Armagh.
Despite this, the PSNI claimed for days it had no record of the find, adding to fears that the force is still involved in collusion cover-ups.
The gun and ammo were discovered in a bag hidden between a sheet of asbestos and the tin roof of the building, which was being demolished.
Asked about the claims that a gun had been found, a PSNI spokeswoman said at the weekend it had “no record/report that matches this description”. However, it was eventually located in the station’s armoury on Wednesday.
The gun could have high evidential value in an investigation into the actions of the Glenanne Gang, who killed scores of nationalists over a period of almost a decade.
Aontú deputy leader Denise Mullen said that the PSNI had also not sealed off the find site and noted the weapon has now been handled by several people.
The house where the weapon was discovered is around one mile from the location where Ms Mullen’s father, SDLP activist Denis Mullen, was shot dead by members of the Glenanne Gang in September 1975.
The notorious gang, which included members of the RUC, UDR and UVF, was also responsible for over a hundred other murders in the area.
It is widely accepted that the gang was also responsible for the Dublin-Monaghan bombings which killed 34 people in 1974.
Ms Mullen said: “It took the PSNI fours days to admit, after denying, that it had found the gun and ammunition.
“It is almost two weeks before they started to carry out any work on the site where the gun was found and the gun was handled by multiple people.
“How can the PSNI take two weeks to do anything when there should be a paper trail?
“How many other times have weapons been handed in and the same thing has happened?”
In 2016 the PSNI said it had “no knowledge” of a similar find by workmen at a property in the Tamnamore area of County Tyrone. However, it later admitted that a gun and ammunition had been discovered.
“The Glenanne gang acted with impunity, inflicting death and destruction in collusion with forces of the British state,” said Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín.
“In fact, the extent of efforts to cover-up the British state’s connection to the gang are only coming to light in recent times. To this day, files held by the British government on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings remain under lock-and-key on so-called ‘national security’ grounds.”
He said there were a number of important questions in regard to the gun’s disappearance: “Has other important evidence been handed into PSNI stations and without political following up disappeared in a similar fashion? Do actions such as this not seriously damage credibility among Nationalists in the PSNI to be able to do their job fairly?
“I have asked 3 Taoisigh, Enda Kenny, Leo Varadkar and Mícheál Martin to meet with victims and survivors of the Glenanne Gang to hear their story. Shockingly to date this has not happened. In my experience in Leinster House the establishment parties only take an interest in the north when there is political capital in it for them or when its too late in the development of a crisis. The government must meet with these survivors and they must raise this shock incident with the British Government.”