I welcome PSNI bid to find Hauser killers, but IRA must be hunted too

Ken Funston, whose brother was murdered by the IRA on the isolated family farm on the border in Fermanagh, speaks at  a memorial day to the victims of terrorism in the Senate Chamber in Parliament Buildings on March 3 2017. 
Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Ken Funston, whose brother was murdered by the IRA on the isolated family farm on the border in Fermanagh, speaks at a memorial day to the victims of terrorism in the Senate Chamber in Parliament Buildings on March 3 2017. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

A young German called Inga Maria Hauser was murdered 29 years ago, shortly after arriving in NI off a ferry from Scotland.

The PSNI recently made a statement in relation to the murder investigation, an inquiry that has remained active since this terrible crime in 1988.

Inga Maria Hausers body was found in Ballypatrick Forest in April 1988, two weeks after she arrived in Northern Ireland

Inga Maria Hausers body was found in Ballypatrick Forest in April 1988, two weeks after she arrived in Northern Ireland

PSNI Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray acknowledged “strenuous efforts” to find the killer or killers over the last three decades had yet to succeed, but he insisted the case was still open and officers remained “tantalisingly close” to catching those responsible.

He added, “While it has to be recognised that Northern Ireland is dealing with a legacy of over 3,000 murders which is unique compared to any other European country, the PSNI is keen to bring Inga Maria’s murderer to justice.”

Mr Murray therefore is cognisant of the many hundreds of unsolved murders relating to the NI Troubles, yet he should feel embarrassed at making this statement.

In my role as an advocate, my primary responsibility is assisting families attempting to find some resolution for the crimes conducted against them in the past.

The IRA Enniskillen Poppy Day massacre, in which 11 people were murdered in 1987, for which no-one has ever been convicted

The IRA Enniskillen Poppy Day massacre, in which 11 people were murdered in 1987, for which no-one has ever been convicted

This necessitates engaging with governmental organisations such as the PSNI, and their Legacy Investigation Branch.

That office seems reluctant to reopen legacy cases involving the PIRA, and remain reluctant to engage with the likes of myself.

I am unable to comment on whether this is an organisational decision by the PSNI, or they have been instructed accordingly.

I have had on occasion been able to direct them towards potential evidence or investigative opportunities. Some 92% of murders by the PIRA in Fermanagh remain unsolved, yet there seems to be little desire to change that figure.

Legacy policing is not proactive, they will only look at a case if the evidence is presented to them.

Ex-Detective Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter recently made a statement to a newspaper, linking the a suspect in mainland IRA atrocities to a local case.

Yet nothing is done.

I have to commend the police in pursuing the murderer(s) of Inga Maria Hauser.

I only wish they showed the same desire to apprehend the many other murderers in our midst.

• Ken Funston is Advocacy Services Manager, SEFF. Ken’s brother was murdered by the IRA on the isolated family farm on the Fermanagh-Donegal border