SDLP West Belfast representative Paul Doherty has expressed his shock and anger after a Police Ombudsman’s report that found there were “collusive police behaviours” in the murder of Belfast teenager Damien Walsh by the UDA.
Mr Doherty said if the police and army had done their jobs properly then Damien could still be alive today.
Ombudsman Marie Anderson found “significant failures” in the police investigation into the 17-year-old’s murder after he was shot while working at the Dairy Farm shopping complex near Twinbrook in March 1993.
Mr Doherty said the SDLP stands fully behind the Walsh family as they continue their campaign for justice.
He said the case was a prime example of why the British Government’s proposed amnesty for troubles-related crimes cannot be allowed to proceed.
The West Belfast representative said:
“My heart goes out to the Walsh family who have fought a long campaign to establish the circumstances around Damien’s killing and the investigation into his death. While this shocking report has simply confirmed what they already knew, I hope it will bring them comfort that everyone else now knows the harrowing circumstances behind his tragic murder.
“Had police done their jobs properly Damien could still be alive today. Their failure to continue surveillance of his killers, who they knew to be armed and dangerous, is inexplicable and clearly had a material impact on this brutal murder. The investigation into his murder was also totally inadequate and led to nobody ever being charged in connection with it. There was significant evidence and had this been properly pursued those behind the murder could have been apprehended. Sadly this is far from the only case of this nature, far too often we have heard of people losing their lives during the Troubles due to police failings and collusion.
“This case is yet another example of why the British Government’s proposed Troubles amnesty cannot be allowed. The Walsh family deserve justice, the same as every other family who lost a loved one during our conflict. Now the Ombudsman’s report has been published there should be a new investigation into Damien’s murder and the circumstances surrounding it. It’s the very least his family deserve.”