Relatives of a Catholic man murdered by loyalist paramilitaries 30 years ago have secured a hearing for their High Court action over alleged security force collusion in the killing.
Michael Gilbride, 36, was shot dead by the UDA as he visited his parents’ home in the Ormeau area of south Belfast in November 1992.
His assassination featured in a major report published by Northern Ireland’s Police Ombudsman earlier this year.
Marie Anderson found significant investigative and intelligence failures, and “collusive behaviours” by the RUC in connection with 11 killings during the 1990s.
Eight UDA members identified as informants were linked by intelligence to the murders or attempted murders of 27 people.
Mr Gilbride’s family is suing the British State, claiming failures in the police investigation into his death.
The case faced potential delays amid attempts to hold a partially secret Closed Material Procedure (CMP) hearing on sensitive issues of discovery.
But Mr Justice McAlinden has now listed the action for a five-day trial in June next year.
Mr Gilbride’s widow, Roseann, welcomed the development but also expressed frustration that it has taken so long to get to this stage.
“Even now, 30 years later, the State is still trying to conceal their dirty laundry by suppressing their discovery through a CMP,” she said.
“Perversely, we are the lucky ones as, with the British Government’s proposed legacy legislation, many families will never receive a Police Ombudsman’s report, nor will they be able to pursue a civil case.
“The British Government’s strategy of delay and deny has been upgraded to delay, deny, and destroy.”
The family’s solicitor, Setanta Marley of KRW Law, claimed those plans for dealing with the past are aimed at suppressing such cases.
“Needless to say, we’re pleased to be able to do our job,” he said.
“We can now push on with the sort of litigation that will help expose State collusion in the killing of Michael Gilbride.”