AN OFFICIAL INQUIRY into the 1975 murder of three members of the Miami Showband has found evidence of collusion by the Royal Ulster Constabulary in the deaths.
The band was returning to Dublin after a performance in Co Down on July 31, 1975 when they were stopped at what appeared to be an army roadblock.
The block was a fake, however – comprising of members from the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Ulster Volunteer Force – who had planned on planting an explosive device on the band minibus while its members were lined up outside it.
BBC News recounts that this bomb detonated prematurely, killing two of the paramilitaries – causing other members of the gang to open gunfire, killing guitarist Tony Geraghty, trumpeter Brian McCoy and the band’s singer Fran O’Toole.
The other members of the band only escaped after pretending to have already been killed by gunfire.
This morning an official report from Northern Ireland’s Historical Inquiries Team said evidence surrounding the murders had raised “collusive and corrupt behaviour”, for which no rebuttal had been found.
The report discussed how one UVF member, Robin ‘the Jackal’ Jackson, claimed to have been tipped off that his fingerprints had been found on one murder weapon by a senior RUC agent.
UTV News reports that Jackson was told to “clear”, after being informed there was “a wee job up the country I would be done for”.
Margaret Urwin, a spokeswoman for the Justice of the Forgotten group, said the families of the victims were “fairly happy” with the report’s outcome, but were “appalled” at its findings.
“They’re quite appalled by the finding of collusion between the RUC Special Branch and a notorious loyalist murdered, Robin Jackson,” Urwin said.
It’s really, very upsetting to know that this guy – who the Historical Enquiries Team believe was at the scene – was actually working as an agent for the RUC.
The report’s allegation of a degree of police corruption means the report has automatically been forwarded to the Police Ombudsman for inspection.
Urwin said the victims’ families would be seeking meetings with both the Police Ombudsman, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in the New Year.