Northern Ireland: IFJ demand end to impunity on 20th anniversary of journalist's murder

Twenty years after the murder of investigative journalist Martin O’Hagan, who was shot dead in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, by the paramilitary Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) group on September 28, 2001, no one has been brought to justice. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in calling for justice and accountability for the killing of O'Hagan.

Martin O'Hagan

O’Hagan was an experienced investigative journalist who had exposed the activities of paramilitary groups, including those of LVF founder Billy Wright. At the time of his death he was the Secretary of the Belfast and District branch of the NUJ.

The NUJ hit out at the lack of action in bringing his killers to justice and has called for an independent panel of international experts to look into the murder.

NUJ General Secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, said  “The failure of the authorities to properly investigate the brutal murder of Martin O’Hagan is a stain on the history of policing in Northern Ireland. The passage of time does not obliterate the need for an independent investigation drawn from outside the UK to investigate the murder and the subsequent police failings”. 

“We have long called for an international investigation and we, as Martin’s union, renew that call on the 20th anniversary of his killing. The suspicion of collusion in a murder of this type undermines confidence and needs to be addressed. A free media is the cornerstone of democracy and it is simply not acceptable that Martin O’Hagan’s should be filed as ‘unsolved’”, she added.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “Launching an international investigation is a necessary step to bring clarity to Martin O'Hagan's case and to protect media freedom in Northern Ireland. There should be no impunity for crimes committed against journalists. We extend our support to the NUJ and to Martin’s family.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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