A review of the police investigation into the La Mon atrocity is urgently needed.
It has now been 35 years since 12 people were murdered and 30 others were injured when a firebomb turned a meeting of the Irish Collie Club in the La Mon House into a massacre. The atrocity ranks as one of the most shocking of the entire IRA campaign of Terrorism.
A year ago the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) released a report into the bombing without identifying any lead, although numerous essential documents were found to be missing in the original investigating file.
The Ulster Human Rights Watch, representing several victims of the terrorist attack, would wish to see a review of the investigation taking place similar to that carried out by barrister Sir Desmond Lorenz de Silva who was entrusted with the review of the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane. Contrary to what has occurred so far in the La Mon investigation Sir de Silva was given access to intelligence documents.
In a recent statement the Ulster Human Rights Watch said “The victims of terrorism of the La Mon House atrocity call for a new investigating process to be set up in order to ensure that the truth is revealed”. They are asking Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, “to appoint a legal expert to conduct an independent review into the question of possible state involvement in protecting members of the IRA responsible for the planning and execution of the massacre.”
It has been reported in the Daily Mirror that former double agent Denis Donaldson was suspected of involvement in the La Mon attack. In 2005 it was discovered that Mr Donaldson had been a double agent for the British intelligence service as well as for Sinn Fein. He was murdered in suspicious circumstances while staying in a remote farmhouse in Co Donegal the same year.
The Ulster Human Rights Watch has stated: “Since there does not appear to be any willingness to pursue a proper review in the investigation of the La Mon House atrocity on behalf of the Historical Enquiries Team, it now appears necessary to request that the Secretary of State establish an independent review entrusted to a legal expert.”
What is now needed is for original documents, which the HET says have not yet been located in Northern Ireland, to be found and access given to intelligence documents. A large number of suspects were questioned and released by the RUC following the attack and what needs to be known is whether paid agents were protected by RUC Special Branch.
If such an in-depth investigation can be carried out in a case relating to the murder of one lawyer, what should the Secretary of State not be doing to ensure every avenue of investigation is followed up concerning the deaths of 12 innocent civilians and the injuries sustained by many more?