Carthy commends McAnespie family, calls for publication of Crowley report, during Dáil debate
The family of Aidan McAnespie, shot dead by the British Army at Aughnacloy in 1988 were commended in the Dáil last week during a debate on the first anniversary of the ‘New Decade-New Approach’ agreement which led to the re-establishment of the Stormont institutions last year. Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, called on the Irish government to publish the Crowley report which was delivered to the Justice Minister following Aidan’s killing.
The debate coincided with the 33rd anniversary of Aidan’s murder and his family have since been engaged in a ‘dignified and determined’ campaign for truth and justice, Carthy said.
The Sinn Féin Deputy said that the process to resolve conflict legacy issues was agreed at Stormont House in 2014 but that the British government had failed to implement their responsibilities under that agreement.
Deputy Carthy said:
“On 5 February, a group of survivors and families of victims of the Ormeau Road massacre gathered at the Sean Graham bookmakers, where on that day in 1992, five innocent men were slaughtered by loyalists with the assistance of British state agents. In what subsequently became notorious scenes, the PSNI disrupted the small dignified ceremony and arrested Mark Sykes, one of those who was actually shot but managed to survive the attack.
“These events have highlighted again the acute and sometimes double standards that have applied to the conflict in our country and, just as importantly, to the resolution of legacy-related issues. Thousands of families still await truth and justice.
“The process for resolving these issues was agreed at Stormont House in 2014. However, one signatory to that agreement, as it happens, probably the most important signatory, has failed to live up to its responsibility.
“The British Government has steadfastly refused to adhere to its agreed actions and, in fact, has stubbornly resisted all efforts to deliver truth to bereaved families. This can be seen recently in its refusal to establish a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane. The Finucane family and the Ormeau Road families are among hundreds of people bereaved at the hands of loyalists who operated with the support and frequently the direction of British forces.
“Often, these actions occurred in this State, including bombings in Dublin, Monaghan, Castleblayney and Belturbet and the assassination of John Francis Green.
“Often, British forces cut out the middlemen and murdered Irish citizens directly.
“This week marks the anniversary of the death of Aidan McAnespie. Aidan was just a 23-year-old man when he was shot dead in 1988 by the British army at Aughnacloy, near the Monaghan-Tyrone border, while he was walking to a football game. The British army had repeatedly warned Aidan and members of his family that it intended to get him, and they did.
“His family have since campaigned for truth and justice. I want to put on the record of the House today our pride and esteem in the McAnespie clan for their dignified and determined efforts. I repeat their often-made call for the Irish Government to publish the Crowley report, which was conducted after Aidan’s murder. It is the least they deserve.
“I want to put on record that all families who were bereaved during the course of the conflict, regardless of which organisation was responsible whether they be republican, loyalist, British or other state forces, deserve truth and justice.
“An assurance is needed that there will not be a hierarchy of victims in respect of legacy resolution as there was during the conflict. Of the hundreds of murders carried out directly by the British army, only four soldiers served any time in prison. Not one served more than five years and all were readmitted to their forces. Their victims have been denied justice, and very often truth, on every occasion.
“Therefore, as we look forward, which is what these debates must be about, we must recognise that every year of justice delayed is justice denied and injustice compounded.
“The process that was agreed at Stormont House must be enacted.
“This House must be united in that call” he concluded.