Monday, September 26, 2011

O’Hagan’s killers still at large 10 years on

This week marks 10 years since the Belfast-based Sunday World journalist, Martin O’Hagan, was assassinated. On September 28 2001, as O’Hagan and his wife were walking home following their usual Friday night drink together in their local pub, a car drove up alongside them and a gunman opened fire at the couple. O’Hagan was shot multiple times as he attempted to shield his wife from the bullets. O’Hagan had received a number of death threats prior to his death, following a series of articles he had published on drug dealing in a loyalist paramilitary group. Attention was focused on five members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), based on the fact that a member of the network and spotted O’Hagan in the pub on the evening of his murder and phoned contacts in the terror group to notify them of O’Hagan’s presence. However, no one has yet been brought to justice for the killing.
O’Hagan’s former colleagues at the Sunday World, Northern Ireland’s best selling Sunday newspaper, are still receiving death threats. The latest threat came a few weeks ago when journalists were warned by sources within the loyalist community that the Ulster Volunteer Force was plotting to send a parcel bomb to their newsroom. The paper claims to have received a total of 50 death threats, some targeting individual journalists, since O’Hagan’s murder in 2001. The paper is adamant that the gang responsible for the assassination is still working for the one of the security forces in Northern Ireland.

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