Cllr Eddie Fullerton
The family of the late Councillor Eddie Fullerton with Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD
The family of murdered Donegal councillor, Eddie Fullerton, has given a “broad welcome” to the report investigating RUC handling of certain Loyalist paramilitary murders and attempted murders in the North.
Speaking to Inish Live, Eddie Fullerton's daughter, Amanda, said the report established security forces in the North had armed UDA gangs and an RUC officer, a known Loyalist informant, had been present in the custody suite when Eddie Fullerton was arrested in 1990.
“Shortly after that, my father received a death threat,” said Amanda Fullerton, “yet that particular person was never criminally investigated.”
Eddie Fullerton was murdered in his Buncrana home on May 25, 1991.
The report, compiled by the Police Ombudsman in the North, Marie Anderson, dealt with the murders of Eddie Fullerton, Gerard Casey, Patrick Shanaghan, Thomas Donaghey, Bernard O'Hagan, Daniel Cassidy and Michael Carey and the attempted murders of Patrick McErlain and James McCorriston, which took place between 1989 and 1993.
It also considered the murders of Karen Thompson, Steven Mullan, Moira Duddy, Joseph McDermott, James Moore, John Moyne, John Burns, and Victor Montgomery in the October 30, 1993 Greysteel massacre, and the murders of James McKenna, Gerard Dalrymple, Noel O'Kane and James Kelly at Castlerock on March 25, 1993.
Amanda Fullerton said: “We feel that our family's position, from the outset of the assassination, that there was collusion involved in my father's murder, has been vindicated.
“Eddie Fullerton was murdered as a result of collusion by the RUC and security forces, with the UDA and Loyalist paramilitaries.
“The Ombudsman said our complaint was legitimate and justified. She was careful in the way she addressed the issue but she did go into details about the general collusive activities. There is also a chapter on each of the victims, with a chapter is dedicated to my father.
“I think, what needs to be borne in mind in terms of Eddie Fullerton is that yesterday's report is the second part of our Ombudsman report journey. We had an interim report back in 2013. The investigation into the original complaint was kick-started in 2006. We received that report in 2013 and, seven years later, we are receiving this report. The initial report paved the way for this particular wider investigation. The whole journey has taken 14 years to complete,” said Amanda Fullerton.
Amanda Fullerton said the family had come “full circle” in its engagement with the Ombudsman.
“This report has revealed some evidence to us that we would otherwise never have known about, so the journey has been pretty positive, as far as it could be,” said Ms Fullerton.
She added: “We now have to read the full report and digest it all because our legal team also represents a number of other people and families in this investigation, so we have to get together with them.
“We have to look at the implications of this report now for our process going forward and also the implications for the Irish Government, in terms of it taking some form of action based on the findings of this report.
“The official report is in the public domain now, so we know about the two guns used in Eddie Fullerton's murder. One of the guns was an RUC registered weapon and the other one was imported in the South African arms cache. The importance of that is to now have established, to know, the security forces were arming the UDA gangs.
“They were arming them to kill people like my father and the other victims, that is one of the glaringly obvious findings of this report. Also, that there was a particular police officer who was known to be a Loyalist informant and he was actually present in the custody suite at the time my father was arrested by the RUC in 1990. shortly after that my father received a death threat. Yet, that particular person was never never criminally investigated,” said Amanda Fullerton.
It has also emerged that, in the case of Eddie Fullerton and most of the murders and attempted murders in question, senior RUC officers refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Amanda Fullerton also revealed that whenever the Gardaí asked the Special Branch to follow certain lines of enquiry, the RUC did not respond.
“There are all sorts of circumstances that we just have to deal with now and take forward which are unique to daddy's case,” said Amanda Fullerton.
“It is good to raise awareness for my Father's case and to let the local community know, the community my father represented, the truth.
“Even all these years later, they want to know what happened to their councillor, they want to get to the truth, as much as we do.”
Read the full Ombudsman's report here.
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