British government “has duty to provide independent inquiries commission to investigate past”

Posted By: January 12, 2018

Connla Young. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, January 12, 2018

Former Police Ombudsman Baroness Nuala O’Loan has said the British government has a duty to provide an independent historical inquiries commission to investigate the past.

The former ombudsman also said that she and others have shown that there was collusion in the past.

Mrs. O’Loan, who now sits in the House of Lords, was the North’s first Police Ombudsman and held the post from 1999 to 2007.

During that time she carried out several high-profile investigations including Operation Ballast, which investigated the activities of a UVF gang in north Belfast.

Her comments come as pressure continues to grow on the British government to hold a consultation into plans for dealing with the past.

Writing in The Irish Catholic Baroness O’Loan said the “NI assembly had shown itself incapable of handling these and other legacy matters in the interests of the victims.”

“The British government has a duty now, almost 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement, to provide and independent historical inquiries commission properly empowered to investigate all the crimes of the Troubles with an adequate budget and total cooperation from all the agencies in both Ireland and the UK,” he said.

“This is not happening.”

The former ombudsman said resources must be provided by the British government in the same way it funded inquiries such as Hillsborough.

She believes paramilitary groups in the north would not back such a move.

“There are of course reasons why the IRA, the UVF, the UDA, the INLA and all the other terrorist organizations do not want this to happen.

“They all killed their own, as well as the other, and some of those who were once involved in terrorism have now moved on, and they are said to be contributors to the peace process.”

Baroness O’Loan said some people view collusion as “unthinkable.”

“For MI5 and the military in the UK, the disclosure that collusion was a reality has been terrible,” he said.

“Those  agents of the state who supplied information for ‘the fight against terrorism’ were allowed to continue their murderous activities without being made accountable, as they could have been, for their crimes is something which, for most people, is unthinkable.”

She revealed that she continues to work on collusion cases.

“It has grown significant distrust in the authorities,” she said.

“Yet it happened.

“De Silva, Cory, Stevens and even I, as Police Ombudsman, told how it happened.

“I am still working on cases allegedly involving collusion by members of state agencies working with the UVF and the IRA in the case of the alleged agent known as Stakeknife.”