NUJ calls for an expert panel to investigate the murder of Martin O’Hagan
On the 20th anniversary of the death of the Sunday World journalist, Michelle Stanistreet said the failure to secure a conviction of his killers is a stain on the history of policing in Northern Ireland.
The NUJ general secretary renewed her call for the British government to establish a panel of international experts to investigate the murder and the subsequent failure of the security authorities to secure a conviction for the murder. She said:
“The failure of the authorities to properly investigate the brutal murder of Martin O’Hagan is a stain on the history of policing in Northern Ireland. The passage of time does not obliterate the need for an independent investigation drawn from outside the UK to investigate the murder and the subsequent police failings. We will be writing to the British Prime Minister and to An Taoiseach seeking the full support of both the British and Irish governments for a comprehensive investigation.
“Martin was killed because he, as a dogged, determined investigative journalist, knew too much. The widespread belief that those who murdered Martin were informers, or linked to informers and thus protected, is sadly not a far-fetched theory.
“We have long called for an international investigation and we, as Martin’s union, renew that call on the 20th anniversary of his killing. The suspicion of collusion in a murder of this type undermines confidence and needs to be addressed. A free media is the cornerstone of democracy and it is simply not acceptable that Martin O’Hagan’s should be filed as ‘unsolved’.
“Martin would be horrified by the recent threats to journalists across Northern Ireland. The use of social media to undermine journalists is a disturbing trend but Martin would be unsurprised by the cowardice of keyboard warriors, having challenged so many who operated in the shadows during his career.
“We can best serve his memory by continuing to challenge the bullies, to ask the difficult questions and to hold those in power to account. Martin was also a solid trade unionist and we also honour him by defending the rights of workers.”
Séamus Dooley, assistant general secretary said:
“Our thoughts are with the family of Martin O’Hagan and his many relatives, friends and colleagues for whom this anniversary brings back painful memories. We lost not just a fearless journalist but a dedicated husband, father, brother, a trade union activist, a man of courage and integrity.”