Police Ombudsman to investigate murder of Jim Murphy

THE FAMILY of murdered Derrylin civil rights activist Jim Murphy has welcomed confirmation the Office of the Police Ombudsman (OPONI) is to investigate his death, but have said it is “disgraceful” the investigation will not begin for another four years.
Mr Murphy was shot dead at his garage in Corraveigha, Derrylin 49 years ago last week, on April 20th, 1974.
A letter was sent to the Fermanagh Herald in 1974 claiming to be from the UFF, accepting responsibility for his murder. There have also long been strong suspicions British forces may have been involved in the killing.
Almost half a century on, the OPNI has informed Mr Murphy’s family it has formally accepted his case for investigation and it was giving it a high priority for assessment.
However, it told the family that, due to a lack of resources and a backlog of cases, it would not be able to begin its investigation until 2027.
The move comes after Mr Murphy’s niece Joan Corrigan raised a formal complaint with the OPONI in 2022, citing failures in the historic police investigation into his death.
“My uncle Jim was a quiet, well-known and well respected man, much loved by his family and a respected member of the local community in Derrylin,” she said. “He was a member of Fermanagh Civil Rights Association and worked for basic human rights.
“Whilst I welcome an investigation by the Office of the Police Ombudsman, it is disgraceful that the date given in 2027.
“Next year will see the 50th anniversary of my uncle Jim’s murder and Jim will still be denied any measure of justice.”
Ms Corrigan added her uncle had been a campaigner for truth and justice himself.
“He deserved my efforts to bring attention to this travesty,” she said.
“Despite the current circumstances, I feel encouraged that I have achieved this small step towards justice for a wonderful man so loved by so many.”
Victims advocacy charity Paper Trail has been working on Mr Murphy’s case, and has sourced news reports and British Army files from the National Archives in London relating to his murder.
Ciarán MacAirt hit out at the further wait the family now faced waiting for the case to be investigated, and noted that if the Northern Ireland (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill 2022-2023 is enacted it will deny them the investigation all together, as the controversial Bill will remove the power of OPNI to investigate any historical cases.
“Justice delayed is justice denied and it is shameful that any family has to wait so long for a proper investigation to commence,” said Mr MacAirt.
“Whist the British authorities are starving OPONI of resources to investigate legacy cases, the Tories are legislating their pernicious Legacy Bill which will deny families like the victim’s equal access to due process of the law.”

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