Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Written Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Ms Aileen Quinton

  I believe that the NI Select committee is hearing from people with an interest in the issues of the unsolved murders from NI terrorism.

  My mother was murdered in the Poppy Day Massacre in Enniskillen in 1987. Until I initiated a dialogue with the PSNI, very recently, I had had no contact from the police since, (three weeks after the bomb), I answered the door to find a police officer standing there with my mother's blood soaked coat in her hands. I have gone for over 17 years not knowing what happened to my mother from when the bomb went off to when my brother identified her. I do not know her injuries or have any information about whether she suffered.

  Since the bomb I have been involved in raising awareness of disaster/murder impact. I made a program with BBC2 called "Disaster never Ends" which was recommended as a training video by HO report "Disasters a caring response". The main messages being that the impact goes deeper than people want to believe and that bereaved and survivors need to be meaningfully consulted and not just processed through systems designed and agreed by others. I have given talks about trauma impact, including being asked by Gordon Turnball, who was in charge of the psychological debriefing for the hostages when he was in the RAF. I was also invited to visit the Navy, who used a video of my program as part of their therapy as well as other material that I produced. However, despite this, because I live in London and not Northern Ireland, my chances of being consulted on anything related to being affected by terrorism are severely limited.

  I tried for many years to raise awareness, with the Met Police, of the needs of the bereaved for information about the investigation and about what happened to them. I did not really get anywhere until the McPherson Inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, highlighted the shortcomings in dealing with families of murder victims. I offered my services to the newly established Family Liaison Team. I have been told that my input was critical in the development of Family Liaison in the MPS. Many of my phrases have found their way into the ACPO policy. I also gave input into many of the Family Liaison courses.

  The bomb is now being reinvestigated and I have been assured that I will be told what happened to my mother (depending on what is possible to find out at this stage). However I have reason to be concerned about the PSNI's commitment (at the strategic layer) to organisational learning re this issue.

  I think that I have something to offer to the debate. However I think it is even more important that both the Select Committee and the PSNI have input on this matter from the National Advisor in Family Liaison at Centrex. He has been immersed in the issues for many years since his involvement in developing the role when he worked in the MPS. He has advised not just nationally but internationally as well. The issues of providing families of past murders in Northern Ireland is a very complex Family Liaison responsibility and his expertise would, in my opinion, be crucial to its success.

previous page contents

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2005
Prepared 14 April 2005