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The watchdog will refuse to ditch the probe into the shooting dead of senior Provo Colum Marks as he prepared to launch a mortar attack on a police patrol in Downpatrick in 1991.
The party branded the enquiry a “waste of time and resources”. But the Ombudsman’s office has told the Sunday World that Marks’ murder is “still under investigation”. South Down MLA Jim Wells said the fact Marks was killed in an act of terrorism (one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero) should be enough to rule out any question marks.
“Marks was always claimed by the IRA as one of its members,” he said. “He was in a field at night where mortars were being launched at police. It is difficult to see what can be gained (collusion with loyalist preliminaries) by spending a lot of taxpayers’ money to investigate this case.” The Ombudsman launched an investigation after a new witness came forward on the 25th anniversary of the 29-year-old’s murder.
It followed an intervention from Attorney General John Larkin who wrote to the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory asking for a review of a decision not to prosecute police officers arising from his execution. Marks was named in Westminster in 2017 by DUP MP Jim Shannon as the leader of the IRA gang who, a year before his death, had detonated a bomb in which four UDR soldiers were killed.
With many thanks to: The Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the original story
Josie was the eldest son of Joe and Annie Connolly. He was a keen sportsman, and in his short life he won numerous trophies for his exploits in boxing. The crowning glory being an Ulster Junior Championship. Josie also had a keen interest in the Gaelic games and played for local Castlederg club, St. Eugene’s C.L.G.
An example of Josie’s attitude and respect for the republican and fellow volunteers, is the story of how Josie left his grandparents’ wake on Easter Sunday to attend the local commemoration at the graveside of Óglach Seamus Harvey. Josie was to have the same fate as Seamus and made his final journey to the same graveyard on 9th February 1989.
On the 5th February 1989 at around 11pm, a bomb prematurely detonated just outside the village of Drumquin. As personnel of the British Forces arrived at the scene, they found a seriously injured young man. Conscious and aware, he refused to give any information or even his identity.
Sadly on February 6th 1989, Josie died from his injuries at the young age of 20. The IRA confirmed that he was a Volunteer on active service.
With many thanks to the: James Connolly Association Australia for the original posting
Strabane man found dead in Derry police station
THE family of a former IRA prisoner found dead in a police cell have said he was “the last person” likely to take his own life.
The claim was made as an inquest into the death of Co Tyrone man John Brady opened in Omagh yesterday. Originally from Strabane, Mr Brady was found dead in a cell at Strand Road RUC/PSNI station in Co Derry in October 2009. It has been claimed he was approached by members of the RUC/PSNI’s C3 unit, formerly known as Special Branch, before his death. There has also been speculation that Mr Brady, who served a prison sentence for IRA offences and was later returned to jail after having his licence revoked, may have been put under pressure to become an informer (grass) before being found dead in the police station cell.
The Police Ombsudman, who investigated the case, has said there is no evidence to support the claims but confirmed that two intelligence officers did attempt to gain access to Mr Brady but were turned away by custody staff. At the time of his death Mr Brady was taking part in a pre-release scheme and had been allowed to return home at weekends. During yesterday’s hearing coroner Joe McCrisken was told that Mr Brady was arrested after a “scuffle” with his brother-in-law John Kennedy outside a primary school in Strabane.
Mr Kennedy was listed as a witness at the inquest yesterday but failed to appear. In a statement he gave in 2009, which was read out in court, Mr Kennedy claimed that a fight broke out after he was confronted by his brother-in-law and that Mr Brady had threatened to shoot him. The inquest heard that after the altercation Mr Brady contacted prison officials who advised him to notify police. He also got in touch with a solicitor’s firm in Strabane.
The dead man’s sister, Lorna Brady told the hearing that her brother had been “calm” when police arrested him in Strabane after the clash, with Mr Kennedy adding that “he was not in any way depressed”. “I was very shocked as John was the last person I would think would take his own life,” she said. In response to questions from a lawyer for the coroner, Ms Brady said there were no signs or warning that her brother would take his own life. Under questioning from the coroner, she also said her brother had no fear of returning to jail.
“He spent most of his adult life in jail and jail was not something he was scared of,” she said. The inquest heard that all efforts by the coroner service to trace Mr Kennedy, who left Strabane after Mr Brady’s death, had failed. In his statement, Mr Kennedy claimed that Mr Brady had instigated a fight close to the school at Barrack Street. He claimed that they struck each other around eight times during the altercation and that Mr Brady had threatened to shoot him. He described Mr Brady as a “dangerous man” and said “I am in fear for my life”.
Mr Brady’s now sister-in-law Briege Brady, who had been talking to him outside the school, gave evidence that Mr Kennedy called out ‘John’ at Mr Brady who then approached him. She said she then saw Mr Kennedy “swing a punch” at Mr Brady and heard him say “he was nothing but a f****r”.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story
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