The Police Ombudsman has agreed to meet the family of murdered Trillick councillor Patsy Kelly, after a two-year silence on the suspected collusion case.
Murdered in 1974, the body of the Independent councillor, a father of five, was found in Lough Eyes near Tempo. He went missing on his way home from a pub he managed in Trillick. He had been abducted and shot dead before being dumped ten miles from his home.
Almost 43 years on, the family say they have been continually thwarted in their efforts to find answers.
Just over a year ago, Omagh solicitor Pat Fahy received a letter from the Attorney General John Larkin stating that he did not believe an inquest into the death of Cllr Kelly was appropriate given that the matter was being investigated by the Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire.
The Attorney General also stated that Dr Maguire had “reprioritised the investigation concerning the death of Mr Kelly” as indicated by a letter he received in August 7, 2015.
However almost two years later, the Kelly family and Mr Fahy have not received any correspondence from the Police Ombudsman.
Speaking to the Ulster Herald, a spokesman for the Police Ombudsman’s Office stated there had been “some delays due to budgetary constraints and other factors”.
Mr Fahy, however, remained unconvinced, saying, “They cite lack of resources as a reason but if you are not hearing anything from a body for two years, it is a poor excuse”.
This week, West Tyrone MP Barry McElduff – who labelled the silence as ‘outrageous’ – intervened and now a meeting with the police watchdog has been set up for later this month.
The Kelly family and their legal representatives believe the murder was carried out by members of the UDR, aided and covered up by the RUC and British Army.
The late Cllr Kelly’s daughter, Geraldine McCaffrey fears her family may never get answers.
Mrs McCaffrey said, “I was six when my father was murdered. Unfair is not the word for the lack of response from the Ombudsman it is cruel, especially for my mother who is in her late 70s. We need some kind of answer.”
Her brother Patsy (Jnr) stated, “The passing of more time affords the perpetrators and those same state forces to slip silently into the comfort of their strategy of ‘seeing this out’ until it is impossible to ever allow the truth to be achieved. At this stage, we are now entitled to ask if in fact the Police Ombudsman is now part of this strategy?”
Pat Fahy also believes the authorities are “hiding something” and described the lack of movement and transparency as “sinister”.
He wrote to the Police Ombudsman and the Attorney General again last Friday, June 30 and reiterated the request for a fresh inquest which would satisfy Article 2 of the European Convention on Human rights.
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