Attorney General Orders New Inquest into the Murder of Fermanagh Civilian, Jim Murphy

Attorney General: New Inquest Ordered into Death of Jim Murphy.

Press release from Joan Corrigan, niece of the victim: The Attorney General for Northern Ireland has ordered a new inquest into the death of civil rights activist, James (Jim) Edward Murphy.

Mr Murphy was shot dead at his garage in Corraveigha, Derrylin, Fermanagh on 20th April 1974.

Fears that he was targeted and executed by members of the British Army in collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries were confirmed in the 2023 Police Ombudsman’s report into the murder of Trillick’s Independent Councillor, Patsy Kelly, on 24th July 1974.

The Ombudsman report links suspects in both murders and a number of attempted murders in the area to a gang that included serving members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).

Guns and ballistics linked the numerous attacks in Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh but the Royal Ulster Constabulary failed to link them.

The Attorney General for Northern Ireland, Brenda King, informed the Presiding Coroner, Mr. Justice Humphreys, on 15th January 2024:

In light of the submissions made to me I have decided to direct that a new inquest should be held into the death of Mr Murphy."

"This case is linked to that of Patrick Kelly in which I ordered a new inquest on 29 June 2023 following the publication of a report by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland."

"The Police Ombudsman viewed the murder of Mr Murphy as one of several precursor events which took place prior to the murder of Mr Kelly and was critical of the failure by the police to link these cases.” 

“The original police investigation into the death of Mr Murphy was ‘defective’ in several other respects which were the subject of criticism in a report by the ‘Historical Enquiries Team’ and included concerns about the ‘standard of scene preservation, examination and interpretation’.”

Jim Murphy murdered 21st April 1974. New investigation by Office of the Police Ombudsman

Joan Corrigan, Jim's Niece

"I am obviously delighted with the Attorney General’s decision as it has always been said that collusion was at the heart of my uncle’s murder. It will not bring him back, but April 2024 will mark the 50th anniversary of his murder and I can look at his photograph on my wall and know I did as much as I could for his memory. "

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Miss Corrigan said:

"I am obviously delighted with the Attorney General’s decision as it has always been said that collusion was at the heart of my uncle’s murder. It will not bring him back, but April 2024 will mark the 50th anniversary of his murder and I can look at his photograph on my wall and know I did as much as I could for his memory. He was a civil rights activist who sought truth, justice, and equality, as do I, and a new inquest would be an extremely fitting tribute to him.”

“The brutality of his murder at the hands of state agents and the failure of the police to investigate his murder and the murder of other citizens is harrowing and appalling.”

“Whilst I never met Jim, I know his siblings and loved ones suffered a huge loss, huge pain. I hope this gives victims' families some hope for the long-term battle for justice, despite the reprehensible amnesty from the Tory Government, which is another vicious slap in the face of the bereaved."

"Before approaching the Attorney General, and over these years, I have been helped immensely by the charities Paper Trail and the Pat Finucane Centre and owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Paper Trail's Ciarán MacAirt said:

“This was a killer gang of British soldiers and paramilitaries who murdered and maimed across Fermanagh and Tyrone. Their victims were well-known Catholic activists and business people like Jim Murphy and Councillor Kelly. Their attacks intended to strike fear into the local Catholic community.”

“The RUC knew who they were but failed to investigate their heinous crimes at the time so they were free to kill again, and they did. Only for campaigning family members like Miss Corrigan, and the Kelly clan, this terrible state collusion would never see the light of day.”

Solicitor, Niall Murphy, partner at KRW Law LLP, who was made familiar with the case, said:

"We welcome this important decision by the Attorney General to order an Inquest into the murder of Jim Murphy. It is poignant and sad that it has taken 50 years for official recognition that the original RUC investigation into Jim’s murder was failed and defective.”  

Mr Murphy also noted the failure by the RUC to link Jim’s murder with Councillor Kelly’s:

"These recognised, historical, corrupt failings of the State are compounded in modern times, by the wicked and immoral Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023."

"The import of this Act  means that the expressed direction of the most senior law officer in our jurisdiction will not be complied with, as the Inquest has no hope of concluding by the end of April 2024.”

“Notwithstanding this fact, we remain hopeful, that this statute will be declared unlawful, through other legal challenges to it, both domestically and in Strasbourg, and that one day in the future, this inquest will be able to open, and for the first time, consider the appalling facts which surrounded both the murder and cover-up, of a law-abiding decent and upstanding member of our community.” 

"Miss Corrigan acknowledges that Jim is one of many, many victims and finds it unfathomable that whilst so many families wish for healing and justice - instead, the Tory Government has behaved in such a cruel and destructive way introducing the amnesty last year, despite unanimous, vociferous disapproval."

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