New calls for an international investigation into the murder of a journalist
New calls have been made for an international inquiry into the murder of journalist Martin O’Hagan amid fresh allegations of police failures in the investigation.
The names of those believed to have been involved in the September 2001 murder in Lurgan, Co Armagh, were given to two detectives but they did not act on the information, according to a BBC NI Spotlight investigation, which aired on Tuesday evening .
It is alleged that the information was passed on to the police within 48 hours of the murder of the Loyalist Volunteer Force.
Drawing on evidence from an “insider”, called Witness A, the BBC reported that an accomplice involved in eliminating the getaway car passed the evidence on to investigators.
Despite this, no arrests were made and a construction site in Lurgan, where he helped the murderous gang get rid of the car, was not searched.
A father-of-three, O’Hagan, whose work exposed loyalist paramilitaries, was shot dead on his way home from a night out with his wife. He is the only journalist to have been murdered during the Troubles.
No one has ever been convicted of his murder.
Seamus Dooley, deputy general secretary and Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the Spotlight revelations came as no surprise to the union.
“The NUJ has been calling for an independent international investigation into Martin’s murder for some time,” he said.
“We have long believed there was collusion and there is a very strong belief that there are people who know who killed Martin, and that they are protected because of their association with security sources. “
Dooley renewed NUJ’s calls for an investigation into the murder by a panel of independent international experts.
“The latest revelations only confirm our belief that there is a bad smell to the whole episode,” he said.
“It is deeply disturbing, as with many unsolved murders in Northern Ireland, that there has been no prosecution for Martin’s murder.
“It remains a stain on Northern Ireland and a stain on the entire history of media freedom in Ireland.
“We wouldn’t trust anything other than an external international panel investigating the murder at this stage.”
The PSNI said it would not comment until the Spotlight aired, and while an investigation by the Northern Police Ombudsman into the murder and prosecution was ongoing.
Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International said the new information was “disturbing”.
“It is incredible that within 48 hours of the murder of Martin O’Hagan, the police apparently received the names, addresses and various roles of the killers, but did nothing,” he said. he declares.
“To date, no one has been held accountable. His killers literally got away with murder.
Corrigan said it had long been suspected that the masterminds behind O’Hagan’s murder were “paid police informants tied to an outlaw paramilitary group.”
“You could imagine that these things only happen in countries like Russia,” he added.
“But Martin O’Hagan was murdered in ‘peacetime’ in Northern Ireland, where – two decades after his murder – journalists continue to work in a climate of fear amid regular death threats from such armed groups.
“Amnesty International has long been concerned about this case – it was a brutal murder, but also an attack on freedom of the press.
“Amnesty supports calls by the National Union of Journalists for a new investigation into this murder.