Enquiries Report

The Editor
Letters Page
Irish News

In response to today’s revelations about the Historical Enquiries Team RFJ’s
position on the HET not to engage is vindicated by Dr. Lundy’s report. Our
position is to seek a transparent, independent investigative process for

The extent of the revelations contained within Dr. Lundy’s report are shocking and
will be devastating for families. Our initial concerns are for them and the
added trauma that this will bring. Ultimately for them trust has be

This report makes a huge contribution to what is now required and must govern
whatever mechanism replaces the HET. The litany of systemic failings in every
aspect of the HET functionality make it patently obvious that the HET is beyond
reform lest there exist any doubt. What we require is an independent
international truth commission with an investigations unit.
RFJ have always maintained that the HET process is not an independent one given that
it is accountable to the PSNI Chief Constable. The senior officers running the
HET spent several years under both Hugh Orde and Lord Stevens investigating
collusion and the findings of that report have not seen the light of

This is apart from Dr. Lundy’s findings that also expose that 18
former RUC and Special Branch officers are at the heart of
the Intelligence Unit within the HET filtering information as part of
a series of ‘gatekeeping’ exercises – the most senior of which is a former
Special Branch officer with over 30 years of experience who is the Intelligence
Manager and who also plays a further ‘gatekeeping’ role as a standing member of
the HET’s Review and Resolution Panel deciding on what action, if any, is
required by the HET in terms of controversial cases. The fact that the report
also reveals that members of the Public Prosecution Service and the NIO are
responsible for a core group known as the Financial Monitoring Group (FMG) that
decide on key HET policy and finances all lie at the heart of consistent
failings of independence. This is nothing short of scandalous. We would ask if
the former soldier involved in the HET as Command Secretary, Information Manager
and Specified person of Contact with the MoD was involved in Military
Intelligence in the North and in particular the 14th Intelligence/Force Research
Unit (FRU). We note that the HET and the Chief Constable did not permit access
by Dr. Lundy to the precise details of this mostly secretive group.
On one hand HET literature and PR cite that they want to assist families and
provide information whilst at the same time the Chief Constable is refusing
to provide families with information in his possession concerning the murders of
their loved ones at inquests and inquiries. The Chief Constable even
threatening to use Public Interest Immunity Certificates (gagging
orders). This recurring feature of contradiction is clear for all to
see. And whilst the Chief Constable resorts to the best available legal
representation in withholding information the preferred position of the HET is
to work with families outside of them having proper legal representation. The
HET have exploited the vulnerability of bereaved relatives and their genuine
desire to know the truth and thus many simply, and understandably in the
circumstances, engaged the HET in an attempt to find out that truth.
This manipulation is calculated even to the point of preferential treatment of
certain cases in seeking to win over the confidence of nationalists at the
expense of unionist victims concerns in which the manipulation can be viewed as

The HET was never designed to deliver to those families from across the community
whose loved ones were killed in circumstances involving the State. It is a
process of managing the environment and preventing potentially damaging
information about the activities of State agents involved in murders from
emerging. The HET engages in a very calculated and cynical exercise seeking to
gain the confidence of families with that aim as a central part of their

The HET is big on marketing and PR but thin on actual delivery. The statistics speak
for themselves.
It is being indicated by political and media commentators that the HET can simply
move its operational control away from the PSNI and merge with the existing
element within the Police Ombudsman’s office that examines past cases as part of
the anticipated announcement from the Eames/Bradley Consultative Group on the
Past. This will not work and those who believe otherwise should read this report
and recommendations.

Our primary focus needs to be on the creation of an entirely independent and
international investigative unit attached to an international truth commission
that all sections of the community can have confidence in. We need to take the
key learning from Dr. Lundy’s report as the core building blocks for any future
development around this work post the HET.