Sinn Fein MEP, Martina Anderson, launched a booklet titled ‘Britain’s Dirty War in Ireland’ in Derry on Friday afternoon.
The event took place in Ms. Anderson’s constituency office on Spencer Road and was attended by families who lost loved ones during the Troubles.
“One of my priorities in Europe is to raise the issue of collusion and assist families in securing truth and justice,” said Ms. Anderson.
“Recently, I brought a delegation to the European Parliament to raise awareness of the issue. A number of roundtable discussions were held to discuss Britain’s Dirty War in Ireland. These meetings were attended by MEPs and the Irish and British Permanent Representatives in Europe.”
Derry man, Mickey English, lost his son Gary when he was killed on April 19, 1981 by a British army jeep on Creggan Road; Jim Brown was died as a result of the same incident. Two British soldiers were acquitted of the murder of both men.
On April 8, 2012, the now defunct Historical Enquiries Team (HET) wrote to Mickey English telling him that they were re-examining the death of his son Gary. Mickey English has not received any further correspondence to date.
Four years after the death of Gary, Mickey English lost another son to the Troubles when son, Charles, was killed whilst on active service with the IRA in Derry.
Mickey English was one of several people at the launch of the booklet who believe state sponsored collusion was responsible for the death of their loved ones.
“It is my conviction that I would not have lost a second son had justice operated for us in the first place over the death of Gary,” said Mickey.
“People think of collusion as the use of informers and agents, of the RUC assisting loyalists in murder by providing weapons, information and cover. However, collusion can also be found within the British justice system,” he added.
Ms. Anderson insisted that the issue of state sponsored collusion would remain a top priority for her as an MEP. Ms. Anderson included the New Lodge six, the Hooded Men, the murder of Sinn Fein councillor, Eddie Fullerton in 1991, the Ballymurphy massacre in 1971 and the murder of human rights lawyer, Pat Finucane in 1989 as examples of state collusion in Ireland.
“MEPs have signed a declaration calling for British state compliance of its Article 2 obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the context of state killings during the conflict in Ireland,” said Ms. Anderson.
“I am sending a copy of this booklet to MLAs, TDs, councillors and MEPs to continue to highlight the issue of collusion.
“I pledge my commitment to work with families and campaigners until they are satisfied that Britain’s impunity has ended.”
The issue of impunity is a very serious one and the UK government has a responsibility to uphold the rule of law. This is not just an issue of dealing with the past, it has to do with upholding the law in generalNils Muižnieks - Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Anderson continued: “A dangerous precedent is set across Europe, if a member state is able to thwart the implementation of judgements in right to life cases. European Human Rights Commissioner, Nils Muznieks stated publicly in Belfast in November 2014 that: ‘the issue of impunity is a very serious one and the UK government has a responsibility to uphold the rule of law. This is not just an issue of dealing with the past, it has to do with upholding the law in general’.”