Five Years On, IFJ Calls for Justice over Killing of Irish Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said it is extremely concerned about the lack of progress in the investigation of the murder of Irish journalist and union activist Martin O’Hagen and called for an independent inquiry into his death.

O'Hagan, an investigative reporter for the Dublin-based Sunday World and father of three children, was shot outside his home on 28 September 2001. He had been the victim of earlier threats from Protestant gunmen. Responsibility for his killing has been claimed by the Red Hand Defenders, related to the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

The IFJ is backing a call by the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland (NUJ) to have O’Hagen’s death investigated by police outside of Northern Ireland.

“It is shocking that five years after Martin’s murder, the inquiry into his death has gone nowhere,” said IFJ Human Rights and Information Officer Rachel Cohen. “A new, independent investigation must be launched so that his killers can be prosecuted. This will show that Northern Ireland has made a true commitment to protecting investigative journalists and ensuring freedom of expression.”

At the time of his assassination, O'Hagan was working on a detailed investigation of links between Loyalist terrorist groups and the security forces. In 1993, he was threatened by Loyalists and had to leave Ireland for his own safety.

The NUJ has sent a letter to the secretary of state for Northern Ireland asking for another police force to investigate the murder since the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has failed to bring O’Hagen’s killers to justice in the five years since his death.

“It is obvious that the PSNI is not in a position to fully investigate this murder,” NUJ Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley wrote in his letter. “The failure to apprehend those responsible and to secure convictions through the courts is deeply worrying and our members have lost confidence in the current investigation.”

To read the NUJ’s statement, click here.

For more information, contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries.