Inquiry into IRA murders supported by victim’s daughter despite lack of prosecutions

A woman whose mother was abducted and murdered by the IRA has insisted that a lack of prosecutions does not mean Operation Kenova has failed victims, ahead of its interim report being released on Friday.

Shauna Moreland, whose mother Caroline’s body was found in Northern Ireland in July 1994, said: “If these cases had been properly investigated at the time there could have been prosecutions.

“We have been failed by the system since 1994 and it was only when our cases were moved outside Northern Ireland that we got a process we could believe in.”

The major investigation into the army’s top agent in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, known as Stakeknife, began seven years ago in June 2016 and has cost approximately £40m.

Stakeknife was part of the IRA’s internal security unit, and Kenova examined crimes such as murder and torture, and the role played by the security services, including MI5.

The agent was widely believed to be west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci, who died last year aged 77.

Last week, the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland announced that no prosecutions would be pursued after consideration of the last batch of files from the investigation yielded insufficient evidence.

The 12 suspects included seven alleged IRA members and five former soldiers who worked with the army’s Force Research Unit. Three of the soldiers had been agent handlers and the other two were more senior.

Moreland’s mother, a Catholic woman from Belfast who was 34 years old and the parent of two other children, was found dead near Rosslea, County Fermanagh, in July 1994.

Moreland, who was 10 years old at the time, has supported Kenova’s pledge to carry out a victims-first approach. She said: “It was about building trust. We were able to ask questions and we got answers … they were nothing but respectful right the way through the investigation.”

Moreland also said that those who only looked at the cost of the operation and the PPS decisions were missing the point. “There might have been a ceasefire just after my mum’s murder but there was no ceasefire for me,” she said. “There was no proper investigation, no community support and unless you’ve been there you can’t really know how devastating that is.

“[Kenova] showed that my mum mattered and she was not just a statistic.”

It is understood that the report will call for a review into the UK government policy of neither confirming nor denying sensitive information relating to intelligence issues.

The report is also expected to include an appeal for apologies from the government and the IRA to bereaved families and surviving victims.


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