PSNI Apology issued to family of GAA official murdered in 1997

PSNI Apology issued to family of GAA official murdered in 1997

AN APOLOGY has been issued by the PSNI to the family of a GAA official who was murdered by loyalists in 1997 over inadequacies in the original investigation into the killing.

Sean Brown, aged 62, was abducted in Bellaghy, Co Derry and shot six times near Randalstown, Co Antrim.

He had been locking the gates of GAA club Bellaghy Wolf Tones when he was abducted by members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), and nobody has ever been convicted of the murder.

His family believe informers working for RUC Special Branch were involved in the killing and that the investigation was deliberately hindered.

Mr Brown's widow Bridie, 84, took legal action against the police for alleged misfeasance in public office and negligence.

RTÉ reports that in the High Court in Belfast today, it took less than five minutes for the legal action to be settled.

A statement was also read out in court said:

"The PSNI wishes to apologise to Mrs Brown and her family for inadequacies in the RUC original investigation and continues to engage fully in the ongoing inquest proceedings."

An undisclosed sum has also been paid to Mrs Brown as part of the settlement.

Damon Brown, grandson of Mr Brown, said that "although today's important, there should have been a proper investigation 25 years ago."

SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has welcomed the apology from the PSNI, and said an inquest into Mr Brown's murder must now commence.

"It has been a long journey for the family as they have tirelessly campaigned to secure truth and justice for their loved one’s murder and I hope this statement from the PSNI brings some comfort to them," he said.

"There can be no more dither or delay around this case, the failings surrounding the initial investigation have been public knowledge for some time and the Brown family shouldn’t have to wait any longer for justice," he finished.

Today, on the anniversary of Sean Brown's death, a number of events are being organised, including the planting of a tree and the reveal of a commemorative plaque revealed by GAA President Larry McCarthy, on Castle Street.