In a statement issued this evening, the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition has responded to the Report of the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry.
We are conscious that Rosemary was first and foremost a mother, a wife, a sister and a daughter. As such the thoughts of many within our community will lie with Rosemary’s family today.
Likewise, due to the brutal circumstances of her death, all the other work which Rosemary became involved in is too often forgotten and overlooked. Less well known is her work for the Travelling community; on women’s rights; in opposing discrimination in the workplace; and on behalf of the Irish language. Rosemary worked with many voluntary and community groups and with local schools in the Lurgan/Portadown area.
In responding to today’s report, we are mindful that Judge Peter Cory, in his various reports which led to the establishment of this inquiry into Rosemary Nelson’s murder, set out a clear definition of what constituted collusion.
Judge Cory stated that “Because of the necessity for public confidence in the Government agencies, the definition of collusion must be reasonably broad when it is applied to these agencies. That is to say that they must not act collusively by ignoring or turning a blind eye to the wrongful acts of their servants or agents by supplying information to assist those servants or agents in their wrongful acts or by encouraging others to commit a wrongful act. Any lesser definition would have the effect of condoning or even encouraging state involvement in crimes.”
It is clear that had the members of the Inquiry team borne this definition in mind then the conclusions which they reached would have been entirely different.
Nevertheless, a full reading of the report and the many incidents, threats, acts of omission, and hostile attitude of the RUC and NIO evidenced within the report confirms, when measured against Cory’s definition, that there was indeed collusion in Rosemary’s murder.
Furthermore, the assertion within the report that a rogue member or rogue members of the RUC, British Army or other British intelligence agencies may in some way have assisted those directly involved in Rosemary’s murder is a totally discredited defence. It was a defence that was continually rolled out by the British government and others during the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s.
Too often the defence of “a few bad apples” within the RUC and British military was used by the state to excuse the direct involvement of its personnel in many sectarian attacks across the North.
That the Inquiry chose to repeat such a lame and discredited pretext as a possible explanation for Rosemary’s murder will in no way lessen the widely held belief of direct and official British involvement in her murder.