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  • Writer's pictureFriends of Sinn Féin USA

Collusion and Cover-Up – The Killing of Damien Walsh


Damien Walsh

Damien Walsh was 17 and working in a coal depot in the Dairy Farm Shopping Mall on the outskirts of West Belfast. The work was hard and dirty. The bags of coal were heavy, but he enjoyed the job. On 25th March 1993, a car pulled into the depot and shot dead Damien and injured a co-worker. It had all the hallmarks of a random sectarian attack by Loyalist (protestant) paramilitaries.

In a subsequent search of the crime scene, the British Military claimed to have found a suspicious package at the door of another unit. They exploded the package, the door opened, and inside was an IRA hide containing inert fertilizer that could be used in the manufacture of explosives.

The British claimed it was a coincidence that the loyalist killing had led to the “find” of the fertilizer.

Marion Walsh, Damien’s mother fought to get to the truth of what happened.

Today the Police Ombudsman has issued a report after a 7-year investigation and finds “significant Investigative failures” and “collusive behaviors”. Here are the findings:

British Military and the old RUC (Police) had intelligence on the IRA hide. They were also aware that the IRA planned to move the fertilizer as the unit in which it was hidden was to be let.

Despite denials, the Ombudsman found that both the British Army and the RUC had the site under surveillance including on the night of the murder.

The Ombudsman found that the killer gang received targeting information used in the attack at the Dairy Farm Mall from the British Military.

Ongoing surveillance on the killer gang was unexplainably lifted two days before the attack and reinstated 5 days after. During that period the same gang was responsible for the killing of a Sinn Féin member.

One of the guns used in the attack had been part of a haul imported by a British

On the night of the attack, the British Army nor the Police intervened despite having the site under surveillance. The Ombudsman was highly critical of both for failing to pursue and catch the killers. The British Army team gave a wrong description of the car.

The information relating to the surveillance was not shared with the police team investigating the killing. The identities of the two shooters and the driver were quickly known to the police and only one was questioned about the killing. There was no identity parade, despite witnesses coming forward and no in-depth forensic examination. No one has ever been charged with the killing of Damien Walsh.

The British Military directed and facilitated the killers of an innocent 17-year old boy to retrieve the fertilizer and protect an informant. The RUC covered up and allowed the killers and the planners to get away with murder.

The truth was only made possible by the love of a grieving mother and the powers of the Ombudsman.

The proposals this week of the British Government would be to end investigations by the Police Ombudsman and protect those who planned, executed, and covered up the killing of Damien Walsh.

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