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Victims' relatives criticise MLA

(Irish News)

Relative of loyalist murder victims in Co Derry have criticised an SDLP assembly member who complained to the police ombudsman that information that could have prevented the Greysteel massacre was not acted upon.

In a joint statement six family members said John Dallat was "very naive' in making a complaint.

The MLA said detectives had failed to act on information that he provided following the UFF murders of four workmen in Castlerock in March 1993.

Mr Dallat said this information could have prevented the Greysteel massacre on October 30 that year.

Eight people died when UFF men opened fire on the Rising Sun pub in the village of Greysteel.

One of the gunmen shouted "trick or treat' before opening fire.

A report from the Police Ombudsman last week said there was no evidence that detectives had possessed information that could have prevented the murders.

A statement was released yesterday (Sunday) by relatives of six men killed by loyalists in separate murders.

The relatives include Johnny Donaghy, whose brother Thomas, a Sinn Féin worker and former IRA prisoner, was shot dead by the UDA/UFF in 1981.

"John Dallat's unsuccessful complaint to the Police Ombudsman sheds no extra light,' the relatives' statement read.

"For at least one week before the Greysteel massacre the entire east Derry/north Antrim area was gripped with fear.

"The very dogs on the street knew that some target had been picked by the UDA and the security forces were aware of it – the only question was who and where.'

But Mr Dallat said he took criticism "on the chin'.

"If being accused of being naive is the only fate that happens to me for going to the ombudsman and telling my story of what I know of events leading up to the murder of four workmen at Castlerock and the massacre at Greysteel, then I shall take it on the chin from them as I have done in the past,' the East Derry MLA said.

"Of course the report of the Police Ombudsman is disappointing and I have publicly said that.

"But I have also predicted this story – one of the blackest periods in the history of the Troubles – has yet to be fully told.

"I am relieved that I have done my bit as a public representative to ensure that my story is on file for others to take up in the future.'

October 23, 2007

This article appeared first in the October 22, 2007 edition of the Irish News.

This article appears thanks to the Irish News. Subscribe to the Irish News