Derry’s Pat Finucane Centre have accused the PSNI of “deliberately trying to sabotage” the vital work of the Historical Enquiries Team by reassigning 12 of its external investigators to the Bloody Sunday probe.
Bloody Sunday relative John Kelly last night described the PSNI move as “totally unacceptable”. “This is a political move by Matt Baggott to destroy the HET, and they will not use the Bloody Sunday families to achieve that. Hundreds of other families are going to suffer because of this.”
Mr Kelly, whose brother Michael was murdered on Bloody Sunday, further claimed that the families were being “used” to help destroy the flailing HET. “It was never the intention of the Bloody Sunday families that resources be diverted from another investigation to this one. They are going to deprive so many others - and everyone has an equal right to truth and justice.”
Mr Kelly also reiterated that the Derry relatives “stand in solidarity with other families” who still seek truth.
With many HET cases now put on hold, PFC’s Paul O’Connor called the transfer of resources “wrong on a number of levels” and demanded the decision be reversed.
“The HET is in need of urgent reform but is still carrying out an important task on behalf of hundreds of families. It is our view that the PSNI is deliberately trying to sabotage this important work because they don’t want to deal with the past,” Mr O’Connor said.
“The external and therefore independent aspect of the HET is further eroded. Ultimately responsibility for this appalling decision lies with the PSNI Senior Command and the Chief Constable. Is the intention to sow the seeds of division among families, especially those left behind and ultimately damage any prospect of historic investigations?”
Derry’s Bloody Sunday Trust added their condemnation to the decision too, described the PSNI move as “morally wrong”.
Conal McFeely, Chair of the Bloody Sunday Trust, said that if Chief Constable Baggott can’t deliver on commitments, “he should resign immediately” as he has “deliberately misled the families of Bloody Sunday”.
“It also sets the families of victims against each other in a ‘competition’ for resources,” he added.
“The BST calls on the Minister for Justice, David Ford to intervene and provide the necessary resources needed so that all cases currently being investigated by the HET are dealt with in a manner that generates confidence and support of all families seeking truth and justice.
“And we call on the Chief Constable to fully honour his commitments to the Bloody Sunday families. If he can’t do so he should resign immediately.”