12 Mar 2012

An inquest is to get underway in Belfast later into the deaths of two Republicans shot dead by British security forces over twenty years ago.

Sinn Féin councillor Martin McCaughey, of Galbally, Co Tyrone, and Dessie Grew, of Charlemont, Co Armagh, were fatally shot near Loughgall, Co Armagh in October 1990.

The IRA members were shot close to isolated farm outbuildings at Lislasley outside Loughgall. It is believed the building had been under surveillance for some time by the SAS – three AK47 assault rifles were found nearby afterwards.

Allegations McCaughey, aged 23, and Grew, aged 36, were targeted in a British ‘shoot to kill’ policy have surrounded their deaths ever since.

In May 2011, the Supreme Court in London ruled that a coroner must examine the “planning and control of the operation” that led to the fatal shootings.

The panel of seven Supreme Court justices ruled that the inquest should not be restricted to “establishing by what means” the men met their deaths.

Supreme Court president Lord Phillips said a coroner “must comply” with European human rights legislation which protected the “right to life” and obliged authorities to carry out “effective investigations” into the circumstances of deaths.

Speaking at the time, Peter McCaughey, brother of Martin, welcomed the decision: “Our family have always believed that our brother Martin was deliberately targeted and murdered by members of the SAS.

“We have waited over 20 years for an Inquest into Martin’s death and at last we will have an inquest which investigates not only whether individual soldiers unlawfully killed my brother, but whether the SAS deliberately set out to kill Martin and Dessie Grew.”

“We hope, now that any restrictions on the scope of the Coroner’s investigation have been lifted that we will finally get justice for Martin and Dessie.”

He was speaking on behalf of his mother who was the applicant in the proceedings.