‘Ombudsman must go’ - PFC

The Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) Derry has called on police ombudsman Al Hutchinson to resign immediately. The calls have been echoed by Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

It follows a BBC Spotlight programme which detailed errors in several investigations by the Ombudsman’s office, the independence of which was also called into question. One of those investigations was the 1988 ‘Good Samaritan’ Creggan bombing. Eugene (Sean) Dalton, Sheila Lewis and Gerard Curran were all killed as a result of an IRA bomb. It had been left in a Kildrum Gardens flat and attempts were made to lure the army to it, the neighbours were killed when they checked on their friend. The initial findings of a 2008 Ombudsman report revealed the RUC knew of the bomb and failed to take the necessary steps to protect the public. In May 2010 the Ombudsman’s office met with the PFC and the families and, in contradiction to investigators findings, informed them the complaint was not being upheld.

Paul O’Connor, Project Leader of the PFC said: “This report wasn’t changed to protect the name of any agent it was altered to protect the image of the RUC and those who made the decision not to intervene, MI5. Ultimately that is who allowed those people to die and that is who is being protected. Terrible harm has been done to victims families such as the Daltons by the shocking revelation that Ombudsman reports were vetted by the PSNI. Al Hutchinson’s description of legacy cases as ‘toxic’ has added insult to injury. This crisis will continue until he steps aside. Mr. Hutchinson should go now and make way for others to rebuild policing in Northern Ireland.”