PSNI decision on MRF shootings ‘travesty of justice’

Posted By: May 13, 2014

Press Release — Pat Finucane Center


13 May  2014
The decision by the PSNI [ Police Service of Northern Ireland] not  to fully investigate shootings carried out by the secret plainclothes British  army unit, the Military Reaction Force, is a ‘travesty of justice’ according to  the PFC. Following a BBC Panorama programme broadcast in 2013 the Director of  Public Prosecutions asked the PSNI to investigate the activities of this  undercover squad, one of whom, Clive Williams, is now living under an assumed  name in Australia.


PSNI Assistant Chief Constable  Drew Harris has now written to the Prosecution Service to claim that the, 


PSNI is of the view that none of the men  featured have admitted to any criminal act or to having been involved in any of  the incidents portrayed in this programme.”      


Padraig O’Muirigh, solicitor  for the families of two men murdered by the MRF, Daniel Rooney and Patrick Mc  Veigh, told Radio Foyle that he was ‘not surprised’ and that it appeared that  the PSNI had not even bothered to interview former soldiers featured in the  programme.


The PFC and Justice for the  Forgotten supplied declassified documents from Kew to the Panorama team and last  year published a report on undercover units including the MRF available at  We have also been in contact with the  solicitor for the families and are supporting their efforts to alert Australian  authorities to the implications of the Panorama programme for Clive Williams. 


The PSNI decision reinforces  our long held view that the PSNI cannot under any circumstances be trusted to  carry out impartial, independent investigations into so-called ‘legacy or  historic’ cases. The PSNI is institutionally incapable of investigating killings  and shootings carried out by an army unit that was operating in support of the  RUC and whose activities in the early seventies were covered up by the criminal  justice system at all levels including the police. Any rigorous PSNI  investigation would raise serious questions about the original RUC  investigation.  


There are declassified  documents which show extensive correspondence between the then DPP and the  Attorney General following the ‘mistaken’ arrest of a MRF unit which had just  carried out a random gun attack on civilians. We would therefore urge PPS  Director Barra Mc Grory to demand access to all the files held by the  prosecution service on the MRF since it is clear that the PSNI is unlikely open  up its files on the matter.


The Haass recommendation that  an independent investigative unit should be created led by a figure with no  links to the PSNI is the only way to resolve these issues. PSNI involvement in  this ongoing cover-up is doing huge damage to public confidence in current  policing.  




Contact Paul O’Connor 02871  268846 or Margaret Urwin 003531 8554300 (author of Counter-Gangs:a history of  undercover military units in Northern Ireland 1971-1976) 

PFC Unit B8, Ráth Mór Centre Bligh’s Lane,  Derry, BT48 0LZ Tel: 028 71268846
PFC Contacts: 
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