‘Finucane-style review’ urged over La Mon (Belfast NewsLetter)

A Finucane-style review of the police investigation into the La Mon atrocity has been demanded by a Northern Ireland victims’ group.

Tomorrow marks 35 years since 12 people were murdered and 30 others were injured when a giant firebomb turned a meeting of the Irish Collie Club into a massacre.

Only one man was ever convicted for the atrocity, which ranks among one of the most shocking of the Troubles.

Two of the victims were so badly injured that their bodies could only be identified through the process of elimination, while others had to be identified by blood tests.

Last year the Historical Enquiries Team released a report into the bombing, but found no new leads.

The Ulster Human Rights Watch, which represents several of the relatives of La Mon’s victims, has said it wants to see a review of the investigation, similar to the De Silva report into the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane.

Bertie Campbell from Ulster Human Rights Watch claims they have been denied access to intelligence documents and pointed out that barrister Sir Desmond Lorenz de Silva, who carried out the Finucane report, was given access to intelligence documents.

“The victims of terrorism of the La Mon House atrocity call for a new investigating process to be set up in order to ensure that the truth is revealed,” Ulster Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“They ask Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to appoint a legal expert to conduct an independent review into the question of possible state involvement in protecting members of the IRA responsible for the planning and execution of the massacre.”

Last year it was reported in the media that former double agent Denis Donaldson was suspected of involvement in the La Mon attack. In 2005 Mr Donaldson was outed by Sinn Fein as a double agent. He was shot dead at a remote farmhouse in Co Donegal later that year.

The statement from Ulster Human Rights Watch added: “Since there does not appear to be any willingness to pursue a proper review in the investigation of the La Mon House atrocity on behalf of the Historical Enquiries Team, it now appears necessary to request that the Secretary of State establish an independent review entrusted to a legal expert.”

Since the HET report was published last year, Mr Campbell and lawyer Axel Schmidt have been engaged in a series of correspondence with the HET, but say their last letter to HET top man David Cox, sent last October, has gone unanswered.

They want original documents, which the HET says are unlocated, to be found, access to intelligence files, and to view other documents held by the HET.

In total, 33 suspects were questioned and released by the RUC following the attack. Mr Campbell said they want to know if paid agents were protected by RUC Special Branch.

Ulster Human Rights Watch also said they demanded that the HET interview former DUP MP Iris Robinson, who used parliamentary privilege in 2003 to claim that Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was involved in the La Mon bombing – an allegation he denied.

The group said that the HET did not take up their suggestion.

In a statement, the Northern Ireland Office said: “The NIO has not received a request for a de Silva-type review of the La Mon bombing.”

A spokeswoman for the HET said it did not comment on individual cases.


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