Loyalists paid millions in police contracts
Sinn Féin Policing Board member Martina Anderson has called for full disclosure following revelations that £5 million in police building contracts were awarded to alleged senior UVF members who were implicated in one of the most notorious murders of the conflict.
The Foyle MLA was speaking after Thursday's Policing Board heard that suspected loyalists had been cleared to work on policing contracts despite having failed vetting procedures.
"Since Sinn Féin took our positions on the Policing Board, we have been consistently pursuing the issue of security force contracts being awarded to known and active unionist paramilitary leaders," Ms. Anderson said.
"Over the last 18 months, we have uncovered disturbing evidence of this continuing practice which the nationalist and republican community perceive as one of the ways in which unionist death squads were rewarded by the State for their role in collusion.
"At today's Board meeting, it was confirmed that, between the years 1999 and 2004, £5m worth of police contracts were awarded to two companies belonging to individuals who were widely regarded as leading members of the UVF in Armagh.
"In particular, these individuals have been publicly linked to the horrific UVF double murder of David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb in 2000.
"David's father Paul was at today's meeting and I believe he deserves to know the truth of why the police handed over millions of pounds in public money to the men he believes murdered his son.
"Mr. McIlwaine and the general public also deserve to know why one of these individuals was cleared to work on security contracts.
"At a meeting last week, the Chief Constable informed me that this man was denied security clearance on two occasions after failing police vetting procedures but that this decision was subsequently overruled by the NIO.
"Today, the Chief Constable told me he had been mistaken in his assertion regarding the NIO's involvement and has pledged to personally investigate what had actually happened.
"However, I believe this confusion has only increased the need for full transparency around this issue, including any involvement of the securocrats.
"It has already been widely reported that notorious agent Mark Haddock was linked to the murder of David McElwaine and Andrew Robb and these latest revelations will only strengthen suspicions that the State had a hand in these and many other killings during that period.
"Sinn Féin will continue to pursue this issue because we believe what has been uncovered to date is only the tip of the iceberg with relation to collusion and Britain's dirty war in Ireland.
"This is not a historic issue. Some of these individuals are continuing to win lucrative security contracts. But even if it was an historic issue, the public and, in particular, the families of the victims deserve to know the truth about the State's involvement and why vast amounts of public money was handed over to the people they believe killed their loved ones."