£30m to be spent reviewing unsolved NI murders

08/03/2005 - 10:03:34

The British government is set to provide up to £30m (€43m) today to allow police to review unsolved murders in Northern Ireland.

Nearly 2,000 deaths during 30 years of violence remain unsolved and the funding will be spread over a number of years, according to British government sources.

The Police Federation of Northern Ireland welcomed the move. It has been pressing for a review of cold cases for years, particularly of the murders of more than 200 police officers which remain unsolved.

Police Service of Northern Ireland chief constable Hugh Orde is expected to follow the announcement by saying detectives from elsewhere in the UK will be brought in to help with the review.

Police Federation chairman Irwin Montgomery said a review was long overdue and would help families of victims to reach closure.

“Families just want to know what happened to their loved ones. They want to know the circumstances of their deaths.

“Obviously, my interest is in the 211 unsolved police murders particularly. But for all the 1,800 unsolved murders in Northern Ireland, hopefully this will bring closure for a number of families.”

He warned families not to expect prosecutions and convictions from the reviews. Some murders go back over 30 years, evidence has been lost and detectives who investigated them are no longer alive, he said.

But Mr Montgomery said new techniques such as DNA are now available and could be used in some cases.

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