Victims and their families have held a protest outside the Police Ombudsman’s Office in Belfast City Centre calling for the immediate publication of legacy reports, some of which have now been completed for over three years.
There is mounting concern among victims’ families that the Ombudsman’s Office is delaying the publication of reports until the British government introduces ‘amnesty’ legislation that could indefinitely shut the door on families accessing the truth.
Families bereaved in the Sean Graham Bookmaker’s massacre directly called on the Police Ombudsman to release a long-awaited report into their loved ones’ murders.
The 1992 massacre was carried out by a UDA/UFF death squad in collusion with RUC police and claimed the lives of five innocent civilians.
Relatives joined the protest at the Ombudsman’s Office on Thursday 9 September to call for the release of the delayed report.
In a statement released via Relatives for Justice, the families of those murdered in the atrocity said: “We’ve been told for the past number of years that the report into the murders of our loved ones is completed and were promised on four occasions that it would be published. Each time this has been delayed and we have been failed – why?”
The families noted the “clear and irrefutable evidence of collusion” in their loved ones’ killings including “the planning of the attack, carrying it out, the provision of weapons, to the deliberately flawed and perfunctory investigation, which amounted to a cover-up”.
“This involved every branch and agency of the State’s policing and security apparatus,” the statement added.
“We will not accept any findings that fail or fall short in explicitly determining the unprecedented levels of collusion in this murderous atrocity.”
The protest was organised by the Time for Truth Campaign, which has called for the implementation of legacy mechanisms in the Stormont House Agreement.
“The bereaved families and injured victims have had to stomach denial and delay for too long,” they said.
Local Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey said it was an indictment on both the British government and Ombudsman Office that these families have to continue to take to the streets demanding truth.
“All families bereaved during the conflict have an indistinguishable right to know the truth about the deaths of their loved ones, and it is absolute paramount that the Ombudsman’s office does not act as a barrier to ensuring that this right is fulfilled,” he said.