Belfast Telegraph

MI5's secret file on RUC will be kept under wraps

RUC badge (stock photo)
RUC badge (stock photo)
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A secret file on RUC policing compiled during the worst period of the Troubles is to remain under lock and key.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has ruled the PSNI do not have to reveal the content of an MI5 report by Jack Morton, a former colonial police chief in India who recommended a shake-up of RUC Special Branch in his 1973 review.

A year after the completion of his report - which was instigated by the then head of MI5, Michael Hanley - the UVF killed 33 people and an unborn child in the Dublin and Monaghan bombs.

A number of those suspected to be behind the bombings were said to have had close connections with British Intelligence or Special Branch Officers.

While more than 20 academics had called for the content of the Morton Report to be released for research purposes, the ICO refused.

Journalist Phil Miller, who made the original Freedom of Information request to the PSNI, said he intends to appeal against the ICO's decision.

He tweeted that he had asked the PSNI to release the "secret review of Special Branch" two years ago.

"They refused, and now the Info Commissioner has sided with them, so I'm going to court to get it," he said.

Daniel Holder, deputy director of the Belfast-based Committee on the Administration of Justice, told the Irish Times the decision was "difficult to conceive" and that it should be released to prevent a repetition of past practices that fuelled conflict.

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