THE Attorney General of Northern Ireland has directed that a fresh inquest be held into the death of Patsy Kelly in Co. Tyrone in 1974.
Mr Kelly, who was an independent nationalist councillor on Omagh District Council, was abducted on his way home from work at Corner Bar in Trillick, Co. Tyrone, in the early hours of July 25, 1974.
The 35-year-old’s body was recovered over two weeks later, on August 10, from Lough Eyes near Lisbellaw in Co. Fermanagh.
The father-of-four had been shot six times and a 56lb weight had been tied to his body with a rope before it was deposited in the water.
Noone has ever been convicted of Mr Kelly’s murder, although his wife and children have maintained, in their ongoing campaign for justice, that there was involvement by the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment.
They also claimed the original investigation into their father’s death was flawed.
That claim was vindicated by NI Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson in April, who met with the family before releasing her report.
The report found a series of investigative failings into Mr Kelly’s death, including that the senior investigating officer showed “latent” investigative bias.
Followng this report the family called for a fresh inquest to be ordered, as the original inquest, held in 1975, had delivered an open verdict.
But their request was turned down in May by Northern Ireland’s Attorney General Brenda King, who claimed an inquest would not be likely to add any new material to what was recorded in the Police Ombudsman’s report.
The family challenged this decision with a judicial review, which was heard on Monday, June 26.
Today Ms King wrote to the family to inform them that she has now directed that a fresh inquest be held into Mr Kelly’s death.
The Kelly family have welcomed the decision, confirming that they would “immediately ask the presiding coroner to timetable the inquest for hearing”.
Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley has also welcomed the news today.
“This is the right decision given the damning findings in the Police Ombudsman report on Patsy’s abduction, the levels of cover-up and collusion involved, and the RUC’s failure to properly investigate this brutal murder,” the West Tyrone MP said.
“Today’s decision is testament to the Kelly family who have campaigned for almost five decades with courage and determination to uncover the truth,” she added.
“I will continue to stand with Patsy Kelly’s family as they continue with their efforts to achieve truth and justice for their husband and father.”