Belfast Telegraph

IRA victim's brother demands collusion probe

Murdered: Ian Sproule was 24 when he was shot dead by the IRA in 1991
Murdered: Ian Sproule was 24 when he was shot dead by the IRA in 1991
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

The brother of an alleged victim of IRA-Garda collusion has urged Tanaiste Simon Coveney to keep his promise to provide answers after he called for an independent investigation into the murder.

John Sproule met Mr Coveney, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs, in Dublin over the 1991 death of Ian Sproule (24), shot dead by the IRA in Castlederg.

The IRA tried to justify the killing by showing a Garda intelligence file to a Londonderry newspaper, claiming the victim was a UVF member, an allegation rejected by his family who believe gardai colluded in his murder.

Mr Sproule travelled to Dublin with DUP MEP Diane Dodds and Ken Funston, advocacy manager with the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), but said he left the meeting feeling deeply unhappy.

"No, we weren't happy. We've been writing to the Irish government since 2013," he said.

"We only got a meeting last Thursday."

In 2012 it emerged at the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin that former Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy had carried out an inquiry into claims of collusion in Co Donegal.

"I was also shocked to find out about an investigation into my brother's murder held by the Garda," said Mr Sproule.

"The gardai were never under caution when they were under interview, so to me it wasn't a serious investigation into a very serious matter.

"We need to see the Conroy report in full. We need another investigation to be independent.

"If they have nothing to hide, why are the Irish government not going to show this report?"

Mr Sproule said he had met with the Garda Ombudsman two years ago, but has not had a reply since.

"They said there was a case to answer. Mr Coveney promised he would find out why it has taken so long to get back to us.

"The Irish state has questions to answer. Mr Coveney agreed that this has been going on too long. This is not going to stop here," Mr Sproule added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said that Mr Coveney had reaffirmed the Irish government's condemnation of the murder of Mr Sproule.

"Officials of the Department of Justice and Equality confirmed in the meeting that Garda authorities remain open to co-operate with any further criminal investigation or inquest into Mr Sproule's death that may take place in Northern Ireland," the spokesperson said.

"Relevant departments will remain in contact with the Sproule family, as they continue to seek the justice and truth which they are entitled to."

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