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Ombudsman findings illustrate why amnesty proposals are bad idea, says Blair

The findings of a Police Ombudsman report into the murder of a Catholic teenager by the UDA is further evidence why the UK Government’s amnesty proposals are a bad idea, Alliance MLA John Blair has said.

The Ombudsman found ‘significant failures’ in the police investigation into the killing of Damien Walsh in 1993, who died after being shot at the Diary Farm complex close to Twinbrook. Marie Anderson said while there was no evidence the RUC had prior knowledge of the attack or could have stopped it, the subsequent investigation showed ‘collusive police behaviours’ due to the suspension of a police surveillance operation against the UDA’s C Company, as well as other failures.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with the loved ones of Damien Walsh, who will have no doubt been re-traumatised by having their original doubts about the investigation confirmed by these findings,” said Mr Blair, a member of the Policing Board.

“Alliance is fully supportive of our police service and know the majority of officers acted with honour but nobody can be above the law. We must hold people to account for their actions and uphold the rule of law. During the time the UDA gang were not being watched, it also committed another murder, leaving another family in grief. Questions clearly need asked.

“This is further proof of just how bad an idea the UK Government’s proposals to essentially draw a line under the Troubles and move on are. Victims and survivors, and their families, deserve the option of justice but in addition, they deserve the truth about what happened to their loved ones. If these proposals came to pass, Damien Walsh’s family, as well as many others, would have that option taken off the table.”