Fresh investigation into Fullerton murder

by Democrat reporter

POLICE OMBUDSMAN Nuala O'Loan is investigating part of the circumstances surrounding the 1991 murder of Co Donegal Sinn Fein councillor Eddie Fullerton.

Mr Fullerton was shot dead by the UDA at his home at Cockhill near Buncrana. His family have claimed that the murder was not properly investigated by Gardai at the time and that there may have been collusion by the British security forces.

Relatives have expressed particular concern about the escape route used by the killers. It has been alleged that a number of men in combat gear where picked up by police at Culmore on the outskirts of Derry on the night of the murder.

Mrs O'Loan is investigating the circumstances of the murder north of the border. Mr Fullerton's daugher Amanda said the murder was originally referred to the PSNI's Historical Enquiries Team (HET) but is now being investigated by the Police Ombudsman.

Towards the end of last year (2006) Irish premier Bertie Ahern was given a dossier on the murder. Mr Ahern met the Sinn Fein councillor's family in Dublin where he heard concerns that a recent Garda review of the investigation by Chief Superintendent John White.

"The Garda should not be investigating the Garda. There needs to be an independent review of the case," Mr Fullerton's daughter said. She added Mr Ahern had assured the family pressure would be put on British prime minister Tony Blair and direct ruler Peter Hain to cooperate fully with any future inquiries.

Mr Ahern also recently refused a request by victim's group Families for the Forgotten to establish an international, independent inquiry into British state collusion into hundreds of political killings on both sides of the Irish border. It followed an extensive report by a panel of international experts which found significant evidence that British state agencies were behind the Monaghan and Dublin bombings in 1974 in which 34 people lost their lives.

Mr Ahern said it would be a waste of time to set up "another omnibus inquiry" as it was clear the British government would refuse to co-operate with it. He added the Republic's Baron reports had made significant progress in unearthing the truth behind such atrocities.

Meanwhile, in another case in which collusion is suspected, the families of six men murdered by the Ulster Volunteer Force recently lobbied Westminster MPs to press for an investigation into the claims.

The men were shot dead in O'Toole's bar, Loughinisland, County Down, on 18 June 1994 as they watched a football match.

The Loughinisland Justice Group met a cross-party delegation of MPs at Westminster last month. The delegation included Conservative NI Secretary David Liddington and Liberal Democrat NI spokesman Lembit Opik.

The other MPs they met included Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and members of the Northern Ireland Select Committee.

The Loughinisland victims were watching Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland team beat Italy in the USA World Cup when the loyalist gang burst into the pub and opened fire.

The victims were 34-year-old Adrian Rogan, 39-year-old Eamon Byrne, who was married with four children, his brother-in-law Patsy O'Hare, who was 35 and single, Dan McCreanor, 59, a single farmer, his uncle Barney Green, an 87-year-old retired farmer who was married, and Malcolm Jenkinson, 54, a building contractor who was married with three children.

The families were accompanied to the meetings by Sinn Fein South Down assembly member Caitriona Ruane. She said the families had waited patiently for justice for 12 years.

"As the years have gone on, the families have began to raise serious questions about the murders and specifically the subsequent investigation into it.

"Sinn Fein will continue to support the families of those murdered at Loughinisland in their campaign for the truth about what happened on that night 12 years ago.

"The British government need to realise that issue will not go away."

Emma Rogan, who was eight when her father, Adrian, a scrap metal collector, was shot dead, said:

"Six innocent men who did not do anybody wrong in their lives were wiped off the face of the earth because somebody said go and do it. We want to know why."

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2007-01-29 23:18:40.
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