BEREAVED STILL WAITING FOR ANSWERS

25th June 2015

Victims and survivors who need to know more about how and why their loved ones were killed during the Troubles will take little comfort from Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) report on the PSNI’s Legacy Investigation Branch the WAVE Trauma Centre has said.

The report,  a follow-up inspection of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Historical Enquiries Team, analyses the implementation of recommendations made in 2013 before the HET was closed down.

The CEO of WAVE, Sandra Peake, said:

Forall the weaknesses of the HET, and they were significant, it did at least provide some hope for the families who supported it that they would get a degree of closure with unanswered questions about the death of their loved ones.

Since the HET was wound down from 2013 they have heard nothing and once again the bereaved have been pushed to the margins.

The reality is that the Legacy Investigation Branch has not replaced the HET as far as the bereaved are concerned.

Those who work with WAVE have had no contact about investgations that were being worked on.

They have no idea if they are active or have been shelved.

They have had no updates, no reports”.

Damien McNally who was four months old when his father Paul was murdered in a sectarian attack in 1976 said: 

This was never an easy process for families. But to have gone so far with the HET and then have nothing is hard to take.

We were told that a final report on my father’s murder was nearing completion.

We have heard nothing since.

I don’t know if it would have revealed information that would have helped us.

But at least it would have provided formal, written acknowledgement that someone had looked again at a catastrophic event that had consequences well beyond a passing headline.

That was important”.

The Reverend Dr David Clements whose RUC Reservist father was murdered by the IRA in Ballygawley in December 1985 said:

'Families who have been left in the limbo between the starting of a case by HET and the closure of HET have been treated disrespectfully.  Those in the PSNI who have taken over responsibility have failed even to reply to letters after six months.  This lack of common courtesy greatly adds to the frustration and anger caused by this shoddy treatment.

I never expected preferential treatment just because Dad died in the bottle green uniform, but I did expect better than this”.  

Sandra Peake concluded:

“We understand the pressure that the PSNI is under dealing with the Past and can only hope that the Historical Investigations Unit envisaged in the Stormont House Agreement will have the resources to work effectively.

In the meantime the bereaved victims and survivors have to wait.

They were told to wait for the outworking of Eames/Bradley.

They were told to wait for the outworking of Haass/O’Sullivan.

Now Stormont House.

It has to deliver”.