NUJ in new plea to jail O'Hagan killers

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Five years after the murder of Martin O’Hagan – the first working journalist killed by paramilitaries in the Northern Ireland Troubles – the NUJ has told the Government of its "grave concern" at its failure to bring the reporter's killers to justice.
 
The Sunday World journalist was murdered apparently in revenge for a series of stories exposing the gangster activities of paramilitaries and drug gangs.
 
He was walking home with his wife when he was shot in the back on 28 September, 2001.
 
Former colleagues and NUJ associates of O’Hagan have told Press Gazette that the names of the eight-man Ulster Volunteer Force gang believed to have carried out the killing are well known.
 
O'Hagan even named one of the alleged attackers himself has he lay dying in his wife’s arms.
NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley this week wrote to Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Peter Hain saying: "On the 5th anniversary of the murder of Martin O'Hagan the National Union of Journalists again wishes to record our grave concern at the lack of progress in the PSNI investigation into his death.
 
"Martin O'Hagan was a brave journalist, a committed trade unionist and a strong defender of human rights. His murder, the first of a working journalist during the Troubles, was a direct attack on democracy and on the right to freedom of expression. Martin was also a dedicated husband and father…
 
"It is obvious that the PSNI is not in a position to fully investigate this murder. The failure to apprehend those responsible and to secure convictions through the courts is deeply worrying and our members have lost confidence in the current investigation.
 
"In the circumstances I am renewing our request that a police force from outside Northern Ireland be assigned to this investigation, which should be treated as a priority."
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has so far been unable to provide a response to Press Gazette.
 
Some of O’Hagan’s former colleagues believe the reason the PSNI has not apprehended O’Hagan’s killers is because some of them were also informants for the security services.
 
Sunday World journalist John Keane previously told Press Gazette: "It is believed that as many as three members of the gang have been Special Branch informers.
 
"The only way these people will be brought to justice is when they cross members of their own criminal gang and end up on a mortuary slab. I have no faith in the police to ever prosecute them."

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