UHRW needs answers to ‘secret’ Lambeth Palace talks

Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) confirms that it was not informed about secret talks on legacy at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lambeth Palace.

UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, said: “It is most surprising, to say the least, that secret talks should take place to deal with the legacy of the past –  if such has indeed been the case.

“UHRW has received assurances from the Government that the consultation process that was initiated by Karen Bradley in relation to dealing with the past would be an open one, giving everyone in Northern Ireland and particularly victims of terrorism the opportunity to be involved in defining what would be the best way forward to address the past while pursuing truth, justice and acknowledgement.

“It would be interesting to know who took the initiative to organise these secret talks, why they were kept secret, what criteria were used to choose those invited to take part, what the agenda was, what the aim pursued by these talks was and whether these talks are part of a new process – in which case what is this new process about?

“UHRW has made substantial representations with the Government in relation to addressing issues concerning the past and will continue to do so. On behalf of victims of terrorism, I will be writing to Mr Brandon Lewis, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to ask him for clarification as to what these secret talks were about.”

Taoiseach asked to back call for Public Inquiry into La Mon atrocity

Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) is asking the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, to support a call for a Public Inquiry into the La Mon PIRA atrocity forty-two years ago.

A similar call was made to the Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis, earlier this week.

Following a letter sent to Mr Martin, UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, says: “We are leaving no stone unturned to pursue this matter, which is why we are reaching out to you. Dublin can exercise its influence and work with victims of terrorism to get all the facts exposed. Your Government can be seen as a force for good if it supports our demand and makes a stand with us on behalf of all the innocent victims in Northern Ireland, particularly those who still suffer grievously as a result of this appalling act.”

UHRW represents fifteen of the victims of the bomb attack which killed twelve innocent people and injured 24 others, described by Lord Justice Gibson as ‘the most horrific in the history of this community.

In his letter, Mr Schmidt says: “It would appear that all those responsible for this heinous crime, although identified by one of the bombers, were never arrested or questioned and the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), who reviewed the investigation of this case, concealed from the victims and their families the fact that the identities of other members of the bombing team were known to the police.

“The pursuit of truth, justice and acknowledgement in this case warrants that, after 42 years, the victims of this barbaric act of terrorism and their families be provided with the identity of those involved and a full account of their involvement in ordering, planning and executing of this atrocity.

“They also deserve a thorough explanation as to why the HET deemed it necessary to conceal the fact that the identity of those involved was known to the security forces. As a result, a public inquiry has been requested and I would kindly ask you to fully support this demand.

“Pressure applied for a Public Inquiry from the Government of the Republic of Ireland would be seen as justified and the UHRW calls upon it to take this action.”

Call for Public Inquiry into La Mon atrocity

Ulster Human Rights Watch is calling for a Public Inquiry into the La Mon terrorist atrocity which killed twelve people and injured twenty-three more in the resulting inferno.

In 2014, the then Secretary of State rejected calls for a Public Inquiry on grounds of insufficient evidence. Since then, new information about the PIRA bomb team has come to light, which the human rights body says justifies its fresh demand for a Public Inquiry.

Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, said: “This was an appalling crime and even thought it happened forty-two years ago, we should never give up our search for truth and justice.

“We are aware of the existence of official documents that identify some of the other PIRA terrorists involved in the incendiary attack.

“There was an investigation conducted by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET), and we know that documents held by the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland bear redacted names and nicknames which more than justify a Public Inquiry.

“We have now submitted a request to the Secretary of State for a Public Inquiry which would give survivors and relatives some closure. The request is made on behalf of fifteen victims of La Mon who live in Canada, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“This is one case that won’t go away and we believe there is sufficient new material now available to warrant such an inquiry.”

UHRW says the purpose of the inquiry will be to find out the identities of all IRA terrorists involved in ordering, planning and executing the bombing and provide a full account of their involvement.

Secondly, it wants to know why IRA suspects identified by the only person convicted of the bombing were not arrested and questioned by RUC CID and why the PSNI HET, in its Review Summary Report, took the decision to conceal the names of suspects including the identity of the man who planted the bomb when they were known to the police.

The UHRW Submission states: “This Public Inquiry would require full access to all documentation and relevant exhibits of the original criminal investigation as well as to all original intelligence material and government papers gathered by the Security Service, the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office or the Northern Ireland Office, in relation to the attack.”

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