Treatment of hooded men was “obvious use of torture”, says Taoiseach
The treatment of the “hooded men” was a “clear use of torture” and the Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) was wrong to drop an investigation, said Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Mr Martin’s comments came after the UK Supreme Court ruled that the 2014 decision to suspend an investigation into allegations of controversial interrogation techniques against the hooded men was illegal.
Speaking about the decision, the Taoiseach told reporters in Brussels: “This is a justification for the Hooded Men campaign.
“There should have been an investigation much, much earlier, into what was clearly a use of torture and a violation of the basic human rights of these people,” said Martin.
The 14 hooded men were held without trial by the British Army in Northern Ireland in 1971 and were subjected to treatment which the judges said would be considered torture if carried out today.
This included being hooded, deprived of sleep, food, and water, put into stressful positions, and forced to listen to white noise. The men also said they were beaten and thrown from helicopters, as they hovered not far from the ground but believed they were high in the air and would die.
“The internment itself was a mistake, it should not have happened at the time and caused enormous damage to individuals and to society in Northern Ireland,” said Mr Martin. “We know that the sooner such an injustice can be investigated and closed, the better. I therefore welcome this court decision.
The Taoiseach also said there was a need to “fully clarify” the collusion issue, following the award of £ 1.5million in damages to victims of the Miami Showband massacre to settle the claims. claims regarding the British state’s alleged collusion with loyalist perpetrators.
“It was a horrendous murder of members of an iconic showband. Very, very sordid details emerged in terms of what was envisioned there and the level of collusion, and there has to be total clarity.
“With regard to other atrocities as well, in terms of atrocities committed by paramilitaries, Republican paramilitaries and loyalist paramilitaries, these organizations should make appropriate attempts to end the families.
“We have seen again the trauma that can be inflicted on the families of the victims of people who have been murdered in the past through a failure to end and a failure to atone and apologize to people for the wrong that has been. perpetrated against their loved ones and I think people have waited far, far too long for basic information sharing and basic closure of these issues. “
The Miami Showband was one of Ireland’s most popular cabaret shows in 1975, when its members were barred from returning home after a concert by a mock army patrol made up of infantry from the ‘Ulster Defense Regiment and the Ulster Volunteer Force Paramilitary Group in Co Down.
The perpetrators attempted to hide a bomb on the group’s tour bus, which detonated prematurely. Vocalist Fran O’Toole, guitarist Tony Geraghty and trumpeter Brian McCoy were later shot dead, while band members Des McAlea and Stephen Travers were injured but survived.
A report by the Historical Investigations team in 2011 raised concerns about the involvement of a special branch agent in the police force at the time, the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Survivors and relatives of those killed have reached a resolution in their lawsuits against the Defense Ministry and the PSNI, which were announced in the High Court in Belfast on Monday.