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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Donaldson wants Cooley killing case reopened

Alan Murray

Published 25/12/2011 | 05:00

A Unionist MP has called on the Garda to relaunch an investigation into the murder of Cooley Peninsula farmer Tom Oliver in 1991.

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Jeffrey Donaldson, who gave evidence to the Smithwick tribunal this month, said that further details provided by a former British army agent to the tribunal should now be taken into account.

"Kevin Fulton provided clear detail about who was involved in this incident when Mr Oliver was first abducted and this information should provide detectives with a base to relaunch a new murder investigation," the Lagan Valley MP said.

Fulton described how he was involved in the first abduction of Tom Oliver and told the Smithwick tribunal that he was working at Disneyland in Paris when the father of seven children was abducted a second time and murdered.

The 37-year-old farmer was found shot dead near Belleek in Co Armagh in July 1991 after he was seized by the IRA and again accused of being a garda informant.

Jeffrey Donaldson said that Fulton had named IRA members in public at the tribunal when he gave evidence 10 days ago and had also confirmed to tribunal counsel the roles played by other IRA members in terrorist operations using a cipher list provided to him.

"Kevin Fulton has confirmed details about the Oliver murder and also confirmed the activities of those referred to by numbers on the cipher list. They should all be questioned by the Garda with a view to bringing prosecutions against them for IRA activities in the Republic," the DUP MP said.

Last Wednesday, a 52-year-old republican was released after being questioned by PSNI detectives at the Antrim Serious Crimes Suite about the double murder of two RUC officers in 1983.

The man was one of three named in public by Fulton at the Smithwick tribunal. He also named Patrick 'Mooch' Blair as an IRA bomb-maker and claimed the Newry republican was a double agent.

But Fulton also confirmed to Judge Smithwick the names of six other IRA members living around the border from the cipher list compiled by the tribunal's lawyers.

Fulton almost pulled out of giving evidence to the Smithwick tribunal but was persuaded by lawyers and friends to go ahead and give the evidence.

"He was apprehensive about giving evidence and nearly didn't go to Dublin. He knows that the PSNI and the HET will be going over the transcript of his evidence in the new year to see if there is any material in what he said which could be used as evidence against him," a friend said.

"That's why he won't say anything in public now about his role in the IRA. It will be interesting to see if the Garda in particular pick up on the details read into the tribunal record about IRA activists on their side of the border. Fulton confirmed the names via the cipher list so that is corroboration of knowledge the Garda already had.

"Will they reopen the Tom Oliver murder case and ask those who abducted and interrogated him the first time and the second time about their knowledge of his murder?" the friend added.

Belfast republican Freddie Scappaticci who Fulton named in Dublin is considering whether he will give evidence to the tribunal when it resumes in January.

Sunday Independent

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