Second Anniversary Sees No Progress
This month will be the second anniversary of the
murder of branch secretary Martin O'Hagan, shot dead by elements
of the Lurgan LVF, only yards from his home on 28 September
2001, after a night out with wife Marie. This anniversary
comes around without any progress into his murder being made by
police, writes Mick Brown.
Senior police recently reassured some of Marty's former
colleagues that the investigation into his murder remains
"live", with all the suspects having been interviewed.
Indeed, the identities of his killers are well-known by police
However, Chief Constable Hugh Orde was recently quoted as
saying that although the quality of the investigation was
undeniable, police have failed to secure the necessary forensic
evidence to make progress in the case.
At a recent meeting with the Chief Constable an NUJ delegation
was told by him that no substantial progress had been made. This
is despite a number of potentially controversial claims about
security force agents having been part of the murder gang.
However, at least one of those involved is now on remand facing
other serious charges.
One of those at the recent meeting was Kevin Cooper, Chair, NI
Committee of the IEC. He said: "The Chief Constable was
reminded of international obligations to protect press freedom
and therefore journalists. If the killers are not brought to
justice other journalists will continue to feel under pressure
and this leads to self-censorship."
NUJ meets Chief Constable
A delegation from the NUJ comprising Kevin
Cooper, Chair of the NI Committee of the IEC, Gerry Carson, NEC
member, and branch Chair, along with Seamus Dooley, Irish
Secretary, attended the recent meeting in Belfast with the Chief
Constable of the PSNI Hugh Orde and Director of Media and Public
Relations Austin Hunter writes Mick Brown.
Three key items were discussed:
- the investigation into the murder of Martin O'Hagan;
- the current levels and numbers of threats to journalists and
news groups, which some reliably estimate are sitting at their
highest-ever levels; and
- police raids and the seizure of equipment and documents from
Seamus Dooley acknowledged later that "It was a broad
ranging discussion, much of it off the record." But he did
confirm that Mr Orde had told the delegation there been no
"substantial progress" in catching Marty's killers, and
that last year's reconstruction had failed to provoke fresh
On the issue of the threats Kevin Cooper said: "It was a
good, open and frank meeting. The need for more information on
individual threats, the level and nature of threats along with
the issue of journalists getting access to the Key Personnel
Protection Scheme were addressed." The Chief Constable
suggested a follow-up meeting with his security staff and the NUJ
to discuss these issues in detail.