Pat Fahy, solicitor for the family, writes in the Irish News about the murder of Councillor Patsy Kelly.
The murder of Trillick, Co Tyrone councillor Patsy Kelly, in 1974 remains a dark stain on our policing and justice systems. This was an abduction and killing widely believed to have been carried out by members of the Ulster Defence Regiment in uniform.
That no-one has been brought to justice is a common and understandable theme of complaints made by the families of many victims of our conflict.
But what makes this case stand out from other such unsolved killings is the fact that, indisputably, various forces of the state have collaborated in ensuring that those who killed Councillor Kelly would escape justice.
As solicitor for the Kelly family, I can attest to the massive cover-up which arguably swung into action and has remained in place to this day, since immediately after the murder.
At the Inquest in 1975, a crucial piece of forensic evidence was withheld by the RUC – this was the fact that a footprint matching army issue boots had been found at the spot where Clr. Kelly was abducted. Only in very recent years has this information come to light. When pressed on the issue the excuse given by police was that it had been overlooked to include this in the inquest depositions.
Now another piece of critical information about the killing has been found by researcher Ciarán MacAirt (Paper Trail) within British army records at the Ministry of Defence in London – this is that two days after Cllr. Kelly’s body was found weighted down with two 50 pound weights in Lough Eyes some 15 miles away from where he was abducted, the British army found 97 bullets in Lough Eyes. Among these bullets were a number matching the calibre of those used in the killing of Cllr. Kelly.[Read about the discovery here]
It truly beggars belief that police at the time did not follow up on this important evidence. But what is even worse is that police, including the PSNI have to this day withheld this evidence from the Kelly family. There can be no credible explanation other than that this non-disclosure was deliberate.
How can the Kelly family, or the public at large, be expected to respect a policing system which has purposely placed the protection of the state killers of a husband and father above the interests of justice?
These are serious questions which will not go away. There must be a Public Inquiry if there is to be any chance of the reputation of our policing system being salvaged.
First published as a Letter to the Editor of the Irish News, November 14th 2018. Reproduced with the permission of the author.