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New investigations to open into British state involvement in Troubles killings

A NEW inquiry is to be held into British collusion with loyalist paramilitaries linked to over 100 murders during the so-called Troubles period in the north of Ireland.

Retired Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher will head up the investigations, which will include high-profile cases including the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the Miami Showband massacre.

He will focus on the activities of the notorious Glenanne Gang — a clandestine alliance including loyalist paramilitaries, serving British soldiers and police officers.

They are said to be responsible for around 90 attacks with more than 100 people murdered as they targeted Catholics and nationalists predominately in the so-called “murder triangle” area of counties Armagh and Tyrone.

The Dublin and Monaghan bombings were the deadliest single attack during the Troubles with 33 killed, along with an unborn baby in three separate explosions in May 1974.

Nobody has ever been charged with the bombings, but a subsequent report suggested the involvement of British security forces or MI5 intelligence.

Mr Boutcher, who also investigated the alleged Irish Republican Army (IRA) informant known as Stakeknife, said in a statement: “The review of the Glenanne Gang series will have the interests of the victims and their loved ones at its very heart.

“I have started to meet with the families and their representatives and have promised each of them that I will do everything I can to establish the truth about who was responsible for these terrible crimes.”

Investigations will also try to establish the truth about the Miami Showband killings of July 1975. 

British intelligence has long been suspected of involvement in the attack, which saw three members of one of Ireland’s most popular bands shot dead after being pulled over at a bogus checkpoint.

It has been strongly suggested that the “clipped British accent” heard by bass player Stephen Travers, who survived the attack, was that of Captain Robert Nairac.

He was named in Britain’s House of Commons by then Labour MP Ken Livingstone who claimed it “was likely” that Cpt Nairac had ordered the attack.

The British army officer is alleged to have colluded with the Mid-Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) chief Robin “the Jackal” Jackson in co-ordinating the killings.

Cpt Nairac is believed to have been killed by the IRA while posing undercover as a member of the republican group in a Co Armagh pub. His body has never been recovered.

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