21 January 2006

‘No confidence’ in team

Daily Ireland

By Connla Young


British soldiers opened fire on the car Meehan and Maguire were travelling in - BBC photo from >this story

The daughter of a woman murdered almost 35 years ago by the British army has said she has no faith that her killers will be brought to justice by the Historical Enquiries Team.
Margaret Kennedy’s mother Maura Meehan was shot dead along with the mother’s 19-year-old sister Dorothy Maguire as they travelled in the back of a car at Cape Street near west Belfast’s Falls Road in October 1971.
The women were travelling in the back of a car during a period of severe unrest. Local people had warned that British troops were entering nationalist areas of Belfast. No one has ever been convicted of the killings.
Mrs Kennedy said her family continued to demand justice despite the passage of time.
The west Belfast woman was just nine years old when her mother and aunt were murdered. She said she believed the inquiries team would not deliver the truth for her family.
“All we want is truth and justice. If these people were independent and not part of the PSNI, I would have more confidence but this is about the British government investigating themselves.
“The Historical Enquiries Team are part of the PSNI and that says it all.
“If there was an independent body brought in, with no connections to the British government, then that would be a different matter.
“The British government hasn’t been too interested in revealing the truth to us or pursuing justice over the past 35 years, so why would they start now? This is a poor replacement for the real thing.”
At the time the two women were killed, the British army claimed that soldiers had been fired on from the car in which the women were travelling. This claim was later discredited.
Mrs Kennedy said the pain of her family’s loss remained vivid to this day.
“I was nine when my mother and aunt were murdered, and I remember it like it was today.
“Unfortunately it’s just close family members that remember what happened and that’s because there has been so many murdered over the years,” she said.
“Should I live to be 150, the loss will stay with me.
“My mother was 30 years old and had four children when she was murdered.
“As the only girl in the house, from that day on I became a mother.
“My father Jim died just 18 years later at 48 with a broken heart.
“Nobody has ever been convicted of the murder of my mother and aunt.
“If these people come to me, I will politely tell them that I have no confidence in them to bring my mother’s British army murderers to justice.”
Mark Thompson of the Belfast-based group Relatives for Justice repeated his call for an independent international inquiry.
“They have got the idea right and this goes halfway but they can’t allow people who are responsible for the government to investigate its activities,” he said.

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