1994 will be remembered this year as the 20th anniversary of the first IRA cessation.
There will rightly be a focus on how our peace process has changed the environment in which politics are made and expressed.
Our community will also remember with particular sadness the murder of Teresa Clinton, wife of Sinn Féin candidate Jim Clinton, Roseann Mallon, whose nephews Martin and Christy were both ex-political prisoners – and Kathleen O’Hagan the wife of ex-POW the late Paddy O’Hagan.
Kathleen O’Hagan was seven months pregnant.
Her husband Paddy, had been threatened by the RUC. On that night in July 1994 – he was at a family event. Kathleen was at home with her five young boys.
When Paddy came home his sons were holding their dead mother.
The UVF told republicans in a statement that night to “Brace yourselves for death – because you are going to see plenty of it”.
85% of all intelligence used by loyalist death squads during that period came from the British state.
We know that from the De Silva report into the murder of Human Rights Defender Pat Finucane whose anniversary occurs on Wednesday.
All weaponry used by the UDA and the UVF came from the state – either directly
as in the handgun used in the killing of Pat Finucane and in Graham Bookies Atrocity – or through the shipment of weapons by Military Intelligence from South Africa.
However – there was a lie that the killing of Catholics was indiscriminate. That these were tit for tat killings.
The targets and Loyalists’ own statements made clear that the targeting of the “Pan Nationalist Front” as they termed it – was deliberate and was thought out.
And it was being directed by the British state.
It was a military tactic to isolate republicans from a terrified population during a period when peace talks were gaining momentum.
The deliberate targeting of women was declared after the murder of Philomena Hannah in 1992.
The targeting of uninvolved family members – mainly women – as a military tactic is against International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law.
Article 2 of the ECHE is the Right to Live and it enshrines the Right to the Truth – that is families Right to have killing properly investigated. It is disgraceful that the Fullenton’s family is taken the IG to court for breaching Article in relation to Eddie’s killing.
So when we get our truth process, which we will, we will be remembering Teresa, Roseann, Kathleen and Eddie along with all of the other victims of collusion and we will make sure that whatever mechanism is put in place is Article 2 Compliant.
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