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NUJ demands justice for murdered journalist

28 September 2020

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland has accused the British and Irish government of turning a blind eye to the failure of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to secure a conviction for the murder of journalist Martin O’Hagan.

In a joint statement marking the 19th anniversary of the murder of the Sunday World journalist, Michelle Stanistreet NUJ general secretary and Séamus Dooley assistant general secretary called on the British prime minister Boris Johnson and taoiseach Michéal Martin to support the union’s demand for an independent, international investigation into the killing.

The NUJ is writing to the prime minister, taoiseach and to the first minister and deputy first minister of Northern Ireland to seek consensus on the need for a new investigation.

The NUJ statement said:

"The two governments can no longer turn a blind eye to the failure of the policing authorities to properly investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Martin O’Hagan.

"There are many unsolved murders in Northern Ireland and the pain and suffering of Martin’s family, colleagues and friends is shared by too many families and communities across Northern Ireland.

"In the case of Martin O’Hagan the identity of the perpetrators of this vile murder has been openly discussed in the media yet no one has been convicted of his murder.

"Martin was secretary of the Belfast and district branch of the NUJ and a tenacious investigative journalist with the Sunday World.

"He was murdered because he was fearless in pursuit of the truth. Martin always asked the difficult questions. Today, we ask - why are two governments who condemn the undermining of human rights across the globe apparently content with the failure to secure a conviction for the murder of a journalist in Northern Ireland?

"On this the 19th anniversary of the killing in Lurgan on 28 September 2001 we once again call on the British and Irish governments to give priority to investigating the murder of Martin O’Hagan.

"Only an independent, external investigation can allay the strong suspicion that those responsible for ordering the killing and those who carried out the murder may be immune from prosecution. If there has been official collusion of any type by anyone associated directly or indirectly with the police that must be exposed.

"Journalists in Northern Ireland continue to face threats and intimidation. Recently freelance journalist Patricia Devlin made public the appalling threats made to her, her infant child and family over the last 12 months. Journalists from the Irish News and Sunday World have also faced serious threats in recent months. Against this backdrop failure to secure convictions for the murder of Martin O’Hagan emboldens those who see themselves as being above the law."

Tags: , martin o'hagan, northern ireland, journalists in the uk, journalists killed, safety, parliament uk, parliament ireland