20 January 2006

Daniel’s killers are ‘agents’


North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness has told the North Belfast News that allegations that the murderers of Daniel McColgan are being protected because they are police informers are deeply disturbing and must be investigated.
Last week Fr Dan Whyte said it was believed the loyalist killers of the 21-year-old Catholic postman have escaped justice because they are police informants.
Speaking on the fourth anniversary of the murder of Daniel McColgan, Fr Dan Whyte described as “appalling” reports that the gunmen are being protected by elements within the PSNI.
Daniel McColgan was shot dead on January 12, 2002, as he went to work in a mail sorting office in the loyalist Rathcoole estate.
The Red Hand Defenders, a cover name for the UDA, said it carried out the killing.
Within days of the murder, the names of two senior loyalists from south-east Antrim were being linked to the murder. One of them, now the UDA’s leader in the area, is reported to be a Special Branch informant.
Fr Whyte, from St Mary’s on the Hill parish in Glengormley where two other victims of the UDA were shot dead in recent years, said the feeling in the community is that the killers are being shielded.
“The names of the people who murdered Daniel are known among this community, that’s the feeling around here,” he said.
“The other common understanding is that the police know who was involved in the killing but they have not been touched because they are in positions as informants.
“These are the genuine concerns my parishioners have. It is absolutely appalling that the guys who did this are walking the same streets. They have committed murder, yet nothing has been done.”
Alban Maginness said the St Bernard’s priest’s statement had aired the widely held belief that Daniel McColgan was murdered by well-known members of the Rathcoole UDA.
“This is an extremely serious allegation, and I will be contacting Fr Whyte to follow up on it.
“It must be taken seriously. We do know that there was a pattern of protecting UVF killers involved in the murder of Raymond McCord and at least nine other cases.
“We need to make sure the same was not the case with the UDA, which was responsible for a spate of murders close to Rathcoole around the time that Daniel was killed,” he said.
“The SDLP will raise these concerns at the Policing Board.
“We will also be contacting the McColgan family to hear their views.”
A spokesman for the PSNI said 12 people have been arrested in connection with the murder but there have been no charges. He said detectives remain resolute in their determination to bring the father-of-one’s killers to justice.
Daniel McColgan was one of four young men murdered by loyalists in south-east Antrim during a 12-month period between July 2001-02.
The others killed were Ciaran Cummings, Gavin Brett and Gerard Lawlor. The PSNI has yet to charge anyone in connection with these deaths.

Journalist:: Staff Journalist

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