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.