Police Ombudsman unable [not permitted] to reveal how many people killed by loyalist informers

Posted By: January 15, 2022

Connla Young. Irish News. Belfast. Saturday, January 15, 2022.

POLICE Ombudsman Marie Anderson has said she cannot reveal how many people were killed by RUC informers working inside a notorious UDA/UFF unit 30 years ago.

In a damning report published this week, Ms. Anderson revealed that police informers were involved in murder and other serious crimes.

She has declined to confirm how many murders police informers took part in.

In her report, the ombudsman confirmed there was evidence of “collusive behavior” by some officers in the murder of 19 people and attempted murder of two others over a four-year period between 1989-1993.

Operation Greenwich examined the activities of the UDA/UFF across counties Donegal, Derry and Antrim, three decades ago.

Speaking to The Irish News, Ms. Anderson last night said there were at least two informers.

“I have indicated there were a number of informants,” she said.

“There are at least two. We refer to two in the report.”

Ms. Anderson said she was unable to “comment further” because of “potential identifiability and the need for other issues to be addressed”.

When pressed on what these issues are Ms. Anderson referred to Article Two of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life.

“We have Article Two obligations,” she said.

“Where we have found evidence and intelligence to me concluding that there were two informants involved in murder then that is as far as we have got in terms of our investigation.”

She added that she was unable to confirm how many “informants were involved in The Northwest gang”.

Ms. Anderson does not accept that the failure to confirm how many informers there were in the loyalist gang represents a gap in terms of her conclusions.

“No, I don’t believe it does because I have highlighted where I have concerns over informant handling, particularly in relation to two informants.

“I mean, this is about police conduct. I believe public confidence is also met by me ensuring that there was no risk to the lives of other individuals.”

Asked how many murders informers were involved in Ms. Anderson said: “I’m sorry, I can’t answer that for the same reason, identifiability and protection of Article Two risks.

“The point is that there are Article Two risks in relation to this issue and you have to accept that I have considered this at length and I have obtained legal advice in relation to it and I have made my decision.”

Ms. Anderson added that as a public official she has obligations.

“Police are subject to Article Two obligations in their dealings with informants and I am now subject to those as a public official I am subject to those obligations also,” she said.

“That is always one of the challenges around dealing with the past, dealing with historical matters and dealing with those where some of the informants may still be alive.”

Ms. Anderson said she now intends to meet families “to answer their specific questions”.

The ombudsman believes that her report has “revealed the truth” around the cases considered.

“I just want to reflect that I believe that the Police Ombudsman’s role is to reveal the truth about these matters as far as possible and I believe that my report does that in relation to some of the worst atrocities of the Troubles,” she said.