‘Good Samaritan’ probe might have to be re-opened, say family

Sean Dalton was killed in the IRA booby trap explosion in Creggan in 1988.
Sean Dalton was killed in the IRA booby trap explosion in Creggan in 1988.

The family of a Derry man killed in what became known as the ‘Good Samaritan’ bomb say the Police Ombudsman may have to re-open his investigation into the case.

Sean Dalton’s family believe new information has emerged which, they claim, indicates police didn’t act to prevent the 1988 bombing because they were protecting an informant.

The Daltons say the admission is contained in a report compiled by an association representing retired NI police officers.

The explosion in the Creggan Estate claimed the lives of Mr. Dalton (55) and Sheila Lewis (60). A third person, Gerard Curran, was injured in the blast and died seven months later.

In July of this year, the Police Ombudsman issued a report in which he concluded police could have done more to protect the public.

However, at the end of last month, the Northern Ireland Retired Police Officers Association (NIRPOA) issued what it described as a 30-page “rebuttal” of the report and said it would not be encouraging its members to engage with the Police Ombudsman on certain investigations.

NIRPOA also wrote to Justice Minister David Ford complaining about the report.

The Dalton family, in conjunction with human rights group the Pat Finucane Centre, believes the information in the NIRPOA document referring to an “agent” is important.

A family spokesperson said: “The one aspect of our complaint that the Ombudsman did not uphold was that the police were acting to protect an informant. The Ombudsman said he could find no evidence that the police failed to act in order to protect an informant.

“However, in their response to the report, the retired police officers state explicitly: ‘It has to be assumed that to have publicly made any disclosure as to police awareness of the PIRA’s plans at this stage could have had fatal repercussions for the agent providing the intelligence on the booby trap device and the agent’s active attempt to pin down its location’.”

The Dalton family added: “This then raises the question as to whether the retired police officers have information not available to the Police Ombudsman.”

“If the retired police officers have information about the existence of an agent, surely they should disclose that to any body looking into the deaths of our loved ones.”

Both the Daltons and the PFC have branded the NIRPOA response as “full of absurdities and inconsistencies” and say the family have been treated “appallingly” by the association.