‘Collusive behaviour’ concerns are ‘justified’

Eddie Fullerton’s details were discovered in a loyalist intelligence dossier over a year before his murder in May 1991 but he wasn’t told about it by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

By Kevin Mullan
Friday, 14th January 2022, 10:13 am
Eddie Fullerton pictured with a death threat which was posted to his home in Buncrana before his death.
Eddie Fullerton pictured with a death threat which was posted to his home in Buncrana before his death.

Assault weapons suspected of having been used in the Greysteel massacre on October 30, 1993, were recovered by the RUC but destroyed making later independent verification of ballistics impossible.

These are just some of the findings of a comprehensive report by the Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson which has identified ‘collusive behaviours’ and raised significant concerns about RUC conduct in relation to the loyalist atrocities at Greysteel and Castlerock and the murder of Eddie Fullerton in Buncrana.

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Ombudsman identifies‘collusive behaviours’

The 336-page report examines the RUC handling of attacks by the Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UDA/UFF) between 1989 and 1993 which resulted in 19 murders and multiple attempted murders.

Mrs. Anderson has reported that her investigation found no evidence that the RUC had any prior knowledge of any of the attacks.

But she has stated that an initial failure by the RUC to ensure that it had adequate intelligence about the activities of the North West UDA/UFF led to an inability ‘to effectively counteract the threat posed by them which began to emerge in 1989’.

After investigating police actions in relation to these attacks, Mrs. Anderson said her enquiries had ‘identified a number of significant concerns and said she was of the view that the families’ concerns about collusive behaviours were ‘legitimate and justified’.

Among her concerns were that the RUC failed to warn a number of individuals of threats to their lives.

This included the late Mr. Fullerton, the Sinn Féin councillor shot dead at his home in Buncrana on May 25, 1991.

The report notes that in November 1989, a full sixteen months, before he was murdered Mr. Fullerton’s details were found among those of hundreds of others in the home of a man linked to the UDA in Derry.

However, Mr. Fullerton and his family were never warned that he was the subject of intelligence-gathering.

“This investigation has not found any record that Mr Fullerton was warned by police,” said Mrs. Anderson.

The Ombudsman also found that weapons used in a string of murders - including at Greysteel - had been imported in 1987 but were destroyed by the RUC after they were recovered.