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'Transparency' fears over inquest into murdered dissident republican

Published 13/05/2016

The preliminary hearing was held at Belfast's Laganside Courts
The preliminary hearing was held at Belfast's Laganside Courts

Concerns have been raised about the transparency of an inquest for a dissident republican murdered six years ago.

Kieran Doherty, 31, was shot dead in February 2010 and his body dumped near Londonderry.

The Real IRA claimed responsibility for killing one of its members, but nobody has ever been charged with murder.

In the weeks before his death, Mr Doherty claimed MI5 attempted to recruit him as an agent and his family have raised concerns the UK Security Services could have played a role in his death.

At a preliminary hearing in Belfast's Laganside Court, Fiona Doherty QC, barrister for the family, said: "This the second or third preliminary inquiry we have attended and we really do not know what's going on at all.

"I know and appreciate the stated intention to progress matters and also trying to inject some transparency.

"But we are not being kept up to date with what is happening.

"I am afraid it is all fairly delphic and dense."

The issue of disclosure of police and military files has not yet been addressed, it was revealed.

Coroner Brian Sherrard said he was "anxious" to get the process under way.

The court also heard how representatives from the Coroners Service were in Londonderry in recent weeks and took statements from 32 individuals without informing legal representatives for the next of kin.

Mr Sherrard accepted it was not the normal practice but said there were sound reasons for the move.

While he understood the frustrations of the family, Mr Sherrard said the case dealt with difficult and sensitive matters.

"We all understand that there are reasons why this case is sensitive. I do not need to explain it," he said.

"But as somebody with an overview, I am satisfied that there has been a great deal of work to provide us with a pretty good starting point whenever these statements are released."

Another preliminary hearing has been provisionally listed for June 24.

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