The family of a Lurgan man, Sam Marshall, murdered in highly controversial circumstances in March 1990, are to launch a book this week detailing further and hitherto unknown details about the killing. The book will be formally launched in Lurgan on Wednesday 7th March to coincide with the 22nd anniversary of Mr Marshall’s murder.
The family are also critical of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) for failing to probe the role of RUC Special Branch in Mr Marshall's murder.
A family spokesperson said,
"While HET did provide us with new information regarding the extent of the British undercover military operation which was targeting Sam at the time of his murder, the HET has effectively glossed over and ignored the role of RUC Special Branch.
"The HET admitted that the entire military operation was initiated, controlled and sanctioned by RUC Special Branch. Regular briefings were gven to the British military team by at least 8 Special Branch officers. Yet, HET has totally failed to probe or examine the role of Special Branch in Sam's murder.
“Furthermore, the Stevens Report and the Operation Ballast Report by Nuala O'Loan clearly pointed to the involvement of agents acting for both Special Branch and Military Intelligence in controversial murders elsewhere which occurred around the time of Sam's murder. Many people will be amazed to learn that the HET informed our family that such information was "not relevant” to Sam's death.
“From the time our brother Sam was murdered in 1990, we had always believed that there had been some form of state involvement in his death.
“As a result of information and facts concerning Sam’s killing which we have discovered in recent times, we are now convinced that members of British state forces, including British military intelligence and the Special Branch, were directly involved in the planning and commission of his murder. We also believe that British government ministers are aware of that fact.
“The book reveals new facts to support that view. It will reveal evidence exposing the full extent of the joint Special Branch/British surveillance operation which was in place at the actual time of our brother’s murder.
“Many people will undoubtedly be shocked when they learn just how close members of an undercover British military unit were to Sam when he was shot. Indeed, we have no doubt that many people will be asking why those undercover British soldiers did not intervene to protect Sam or to apprehend his killers”
The family spokesperson added, ““This book will also reveal how the most senior ranking members of the RUC and British government ministers lied, not only to our family but to the wider community and the press, about Sam’s murder.”
“Indeed, the book exposes the existence of an official state cover-up marked by British duplicity, deception and denial which began in 1990 and which continues to the present day. It also directly links Sam’s murder to four other murders and one attempted murder in the Lurgan, Portadown and Dungannon area.”
Concluding the spokesperson said, “Over two decades on from his death in 1990, no inquest has ever been held into Sam’s murder. Our family are of the firm belief that this book about Sam’s murder contains compelling new evidence which places a firm onus on the Coroner and on John Larkin as the Attorney General to order a full and open inquest into all the circumstances surrounding the murder of our brother.”
éirígí General Secretary Breandán Mac Cionnaith has said that new facts about the murder of Sam Marshall in Lurgan in 1990 raise even more questions about the death.
Mac Cionnaith said, “The fact that at least nine armed members of a British Army undercover unit using six cars were actively targeting Sam Marshall when he was murdered on March 7th 1990 demonstrates once again how the British state facilitated the murder of Irish civilians through the use of shadowy death squads in the Six Counties.
Many people will undoubtedly be shocked when they learn that members of the armed undercover British military unit were only yards away from Sam when he was shot.
Indeed, we have no doubt that many people will be asking why those armed undercover British soldiers did not intervene to protect Sam or to apprehend his killers.
The questions must be asked – were those British soldiers working in collaboration with those who shot Sam and was that British Army unit deployed to protect the gunmen and to facilitate the murder?
It’s now clear that the British government and the RUC/PSNI have been involved in covering up many of the facts about Sam’s murder for twenty two years. The British government and the Six County police force lied to the Marshall family, lied to the public and lied to the press when they repeatedly denied that Sam and his two companions were being monitored by British forces on the night of the murder.
The former British Secretary of State Patrick Mayhew also lied to his fellow members of Parliament when he told them in 1994 that there was no surveillance of Sam at the time of his death.
We in éirígí fully support the Marshall family’s campaign to uncover the truth behind Sam’s murder. It is time that they and many other families who lost fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters were given the full truth about Britain’s death squads in Ireland.”
Prior to the formal book launch in St Peter's GFC, North Street, Lurgan, on Wednesday evening, March 7th, the Marshall family will be holding a short vigil and remembrance ceremony at Kilmaine Street in Lurgan. The vigil and ceremony will start at 7.30 sharp to coincide with the actual time of Sam Marshall’s murder at 7.35pm on that same night and date in 1990.