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Irish Executive Council committed to continue support for Belfast journalists under arrest for simply doing their job

7 December 2018

At  a meeting in Dublin the National Union of Journalist’s Irish governing body expressed its outrage at the further bail imposed on Barry Mc Caffrey and Trevor Birney, whose film investigated the UVF massacre of six civilians in Loughinisland in 1994.

Their award winning film, No Stone Unturned , raised questions of collusion in the RUC investigation into the murders.

Members of the  Irish Executive Council (IEC), some of whom  travelled long distances to attend a protest at Musgrave PSNI station last Friday, were outraged that the police arrested the two journalists in the first place, let alone extended their bail over the Christmas and New Year period. Joint cathaoirleach (chairperson) of the IEC, Gerry Carson said:

“The continued targeting of the two journalists by the police is simply unacceptable. Members stress that the PSNI should be concentrating on bringing the killers to justice, not arresting journalists who bring to light vital information that is in the public interest. The Police Ombudsman’s office has repeatedly stated no complaint was made to the PSNI about an alleged theft of documentation from its office. This of course makes a farce of the whole inter police affair.

 “Indeed, the fact is that the Durham Constabulary- asked by the PSNI to undertake an independent assessment and action into an alleged theft from the office of the Ombudsman- didn’t even bother to send anybody to Belfast to speak to Barry and Trevor and their legal teams, when they reported to Musgrave PSNI Station last Friday. As the IEC met, preparations were underway at the NUJ’s  headquarters in London for a special showing of No Stone Unturned. So the PSNI and Durham Constabulary should be under no illusion that the NUJ in Ireland and Britain is standing shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues and will continue to do so for however long their ordeal continues.

“The police’s arrest and bail of Trevor and Barry is a sham and it will not deter investigative journalists throughout Ireland and Britain from holding power to account. The PSNI needs to stop this fishing expedition and instead invest their efforts into catching the killers.”

Meanwhile, the NUJ Black Members’ Council (BMC) sent a message of solidarity to Barry and Trevor. Paying tribute to the two journalists,  Marc Wadsworth, BMC chair, said: “This is of crucial importance to journalists everywhere. This is a critical battle for the right of journalists to tell stories.”

Tags: , Irish Executive Council, IEC, Barry Mc Caffrey, Trevor Birney, No Stone Unturned, Loughinisland