An incomplete legacy report into the PIRA massacre at Narrow Water in 1979 has been described as a ‘disrespectful and unacceptable piece of work’ by the family of one of the eighteen murdered soldiers.
The investigation was begun by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) nine years ago, but was never completed.
HET’s successor, the PSNI Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB), has handed over the draft report which does not appear to shed any new light on the terrorist ambush.
Human rights body, Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) represents the family of one soldier murdered in the PIRA’s deadliest attack on the Army.
UHRW’s Advocacy Support Worker, Jonathan Larner, said: “The family feels let down and badly treated by the HET. Now LIB have handed over a forty-four-page unfinished report that essentially ‘whitewashes’ the investigative failings of An Garda Siochana, dismissing allegations of collusion.
“It was only released because of the pressure that has been applied by Ulster Human Rights Watch and the Veterans’ Commissioner, Danny Kinahan. It is incomplete and leaves many questions unanswered.
The family of the murdered soldier doesn’t want to be identified, but in a statement provided to UHRW, a brother described the partial report as falling far short of their expectations.
The brother said: “We’d hoped to get some closure, some answers to questions we’ve had for more than forty years. This isn’t the way victims should be treated. We lost a loved one and all we can get after nearly eight years is an unfinished report. Without the support of Ulster Human Rights Watch I’m sure we would still be ignored. It’s an insult and a travesty.
“The Draft report says that that the HET review was complete. What we want is for this report to be completed, and for the outstanding questions around the Gardai investigation to be fairly addressed.
“This is no way to conduct legacy investigations and certainly no way to treat relatives.
“They must re-think their whole approach and made it more victim-centred and meaningful.”
Veterans’ Commissioner, Danny Kinahan, said: “This incomplete draft report is a disappointment to relatives and I will use my position to press for answers and for this process to be brought to a satisfactory conclusion by LIB. It is the very least that the families of those soldiers murdered at Narrow Water deserve. I will also continue to engage with LIB on behalf of other families who are still awaiting a completed report.”