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Glenanne gang: Court orders independent investigation into alleged collusion

Families of victims have welcomed the news.

Edward Barnard, whose brother Patrick was murdered by the Glenanne gang, speaks to media outside the Belfast High Court.
Edward Barnard, whose brother Patrick was murdered by the Glenanne gang, speaks to media outside the Belfast High Court.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION has been ordered into alleged state collusion with the loyalist Glenanne Gang in Northern Ireland. 

The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland today found that the former chief constable of the PSNI, George Hamilton, acted unlawfully by failing to investigate state collusion with the Glenanne Gang. 

The new Chief Constable of the PSNI, Simon Byrne, must now initiate an independent investigation into alleged collusion. 

The loyalist gang, which has been linked to around 120 murders during the Troubles, operated largely in Tyrone and Armagh. The gang has been blamed for a range of murders in Northern Ireland and beyond, including the Miami Showband massacre and the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Ulster Volunteer Force members and some security service staff were all part of the gang.

The Court of Appeal found that the families of the victims had successfully established a legitimate expectation that an independent investigation would take place. 

The case was brought by Edward Barnard, whose 13-year-old brother Patrick was killed by the gang in 1976. 

“Today is a momentous day for the Glenanne families in their quest for truth and justice. The Court has now expressly ruled that the Chief Constable has acted unlawfully by breaching his commitment to the families, to ensure that a thematic investigation is conducted by an independent police force,” Darragh Mackin, the family’s lawyer, said in a statement. 

“The families have now tirelessly battled for the truth in the Belfast Courts, and today
marks the beginning of the end, in their pursuance of truth, justice and accountability,” he added.

Barnard, who spoke outside the court today, said: “Twenty family members have tragically passed away since the commencement of the process yet we could not, and will not give up until the truth is uncovered. We urge the Chief Constable not to make the same mistakes as the previous one, and to ensure that this Court judgment is complied with without further delay.”

The independent Historical Enquiries Team had produced an incomplete report into the Glenanne Gang before it was abolished. 

An independent investigation must now take place without “undue delay”, the Court of Appeal warned.

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