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Widow meets Cowen to press for collusion probe

(by Fiona Brady,

A West Belfast widow whose husband was killed by loyalist paramilitaries, this week joined with other victims’ relatives to call for an international inquiry into killings suspected to have been aided by members of the security forces.

Glen Road woman Roseann Gilbride was one of the relatives who met with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen and Secretary of State John Reid at Hillsborough Castle on Thursday.

The delegation which was led by Relatives for Justice also included West Belfast woman Teresa Slane whose husband Gerard was murdered by the UFF - with the assistance of British agent Brian Nelson - and Peggy Quinn, mother of John Quinn.

The families presented Minister Cowen and Reid with a dossier of killings which are alleged to have involved security force collusion.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Roseann Gilbride said she had many questions she wanted answered about her husband’s murder.

Michael Kilbride was shot by the UDA/UFF on November 4 1992 as he was visiting his parents in Fernwood Street in the Ballynafeigh district of the upper Ormeau.

Roseann arrived on the scene to find her husband’s dead body covered by a tarpaulin.

"Nearly ten years on, huge question marks hang over Michael’s killing," said Roseann.

"For example, at the time of his killing a woman rang the RUC to say she had witnessed the killing but they dismissed her evidence. The woman eventually had to move out of the area.

"The Panorama programme brought the issues of collusion to the forefront. My three children deserve to have all their questions answered.

"We want a full inquiry now."

The delegation also sent letters to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern calling for an international inquiry.

The letter states: "Only public disclosure and acknowledgement can begin to address the effects on families of their bereavement and loss.

"Following media reports on the contents of the Stevens Three Inquiry and the recent Panorama investigation of collusion we believe that there can be no confidence in any internal mechanism or investigation into the history of collusion.

"These revelations deeply implicate previous British administrations in collusion between the British Army, RUC and loyalists. It is therefore in the public interest that an immediate international judicial inquiry into the arming, directing and controlling of loyalist paramilitaries by the previous British administration is commenced."

Stevens 3 - the latest probe into Special Branch and British Army collusion - is expected to be published in the autumn.

July 14, 2002

This article appeared first on the web site on July 8, 2002.