The controversial decision to re-assign 12 investigators from the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) to the Bloody Sunday probe has prompted SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan to seek clarification from PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott.
Mr Durkan is also supporting any budget leeway the PSNI may need to ensure that the Bloody Sunday investigation and the HET’s work can both operate on a proper footing and to scale.
“The Bloody Sunday families are obviously perturbed by this development,” Mr Durkan said. “Other families relying on the HET and awaiting progress from them will also be perturbed. Nobody wants to see the important and necessary work of the HET compromised by the necessary effort that needs to be made on the Bloody Sunday investigation.”
Speaking of recent meetings between the PSNI and families of those killed or injured on January 30, 1972, he added: “When the Bloody Sunday families originally met the Deputy Chief Constable to hear of the plans for that investigation they were given no sense that it could be at the expense of wider HET efforts for other families. On the contrary, it was explained that it would take time to establish the team because suitable officers would have to be recruited, including from elsewhere, especially for this task.
“I am endeavouring to speak to the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable to seek clarification on the composition of the inquiry team and the implications for the HET’s purposes and priorities.
“I will be asking them to make appropriate revisions and will be supporting any budgetary leeway which they might need to ensure that the Bloody Sunday investigation and the HET’s work can both operate on a proper footing and to scale.”
Mr Durkan’s comments come following Friday’s revelations from the Pat Finucane Centre about the reassignment of HET investigators.
On Friday, Paul O’Connor from the PFC 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 probe into the Bloody Sunday massacre.