Statement in relation to PSNI apology to The Hooded Men
Today the PSNI issued an apology to the Hooded Men over their torture treatment by the security forces in 1971.
We act on behalf of Liam Shannon and JIM Auld both of whom are reacting to the news delivered by letter to this office at 12 00pm
Each of them note the acknowledgement by the PSNI that the torture treatment meted out to them was unacceptable both at the time and indeed by today’s standards of modern policing.
However, at no time over the last 18 months were Mr. Auld or Mr. Shannon made aware of any behind the scenes negotiations between any other parties and the PSNI.
Today both men said:
“This apology is something which Joe Clarke sought and that is fully respected. Having said that it is surely very insensitive to wait until Joe was on his death bed before issuing the apology.
“However, this apology must be seen in its proper context and can only be accepted in so far as it signposts the need for an apology by the orchestrators of the torture namely The British Government.
“That same torture was planned and executed from the very top including the then Prime Minister.
“We now call upon the current Prime Minister and the Government to do the right thing and apologize.
“This apology in some ways is too little too late. It ought to have been delivered long before now and is only coming on the back of latest legal challenges against the police over their failure to investigate the criminality of the State’s involvement in torture.
“We are concerned that its being promoted in a cynical way to remove ultimate responsibility from the Government and the then Minsters.
“At the end of the day the then RUC were a part of the torture regime sanctioned and directed by the Highest officials in the State.
“We can see through this and want to guard against any complacency and any sense that our battle is over.
“We see this as another step on the road to vindication.
“We now call upon the PSNI to remove their objection to our judicial review challenge listed in a few weeks’ time.
“The apology was timed to try and influence the case. Any suggestion that we will stop our battle for a proper investigation is premature.
“We also now call upon the state to withdraw its insensitive attempt to stop our rightful civil claims for the horrendous treatment suffered by us.
“The State are still trying to fight us in this legal battle.
“It will only have any real effect if it will be replicated in all outstanding legal cases and leads to the Government apologizing as well. Otherwise, it looks like the Government passing the buck and seen as hollow.”