Gerard Slane and Terence Mc Daid Compensation paid by RUC

12 August 2000

Shock news that the RUC made secret compensation payments to the widows of two Catholic men killed by loyalists have sparked demands security chiefs "come clean" over the cases. The families of Terence McDaid and Gerard Slane sued the security forces when it emerged that British Army agent and UDA intelligence officer Brian Nelson played a pivotal role in the 1988 killings. They received an estimated £50,000 each in an out of court settlement, but had always believed the payment was made by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Now documents obtained by the Irish News have confirmed payments were also made by a force which claimed it had no knowledge of the murders - the RUC. A document drafted by the Police Authority for Northern Ireland (PANI) and presented to Chris Patten's Independent Commission on Policing, provides startling new evidence.

It says that in the early 1990s, in line with its statutory role to oversee and approve such settlements, PANI refused to sanction a settlement the RUC sought to present to the families of two people killed by paramilitaries. The Authority insisted police failed to provide it with a satisfactory explanation "about the nature of the RUC's liability", though it was stated that "the RUC had no involvement in the matter". It is understood PANI's refusal eventually led to the NIO stepping in to pay the RUC's share of the settlement, by-passing the Authority. It has also emerged the "two people" in question were Terence McDaid and Gerard Slane. A solicitor linked to the case has insisted that neither the McDaid or Slane familes were ever told the RUC provided cash - believing the settlement was solely funded by the MoD in recognition of Nelson's role. While it is understood no liability was admitted in the settlement payment, the families say news of the RUC role in the cash payout raises serious questions.

Teresa Slane and Maura McDaid - widowed with young families to care for - last night demanded urgent answers from officials.

"I am very, very, shocked by the news about the RUC,"

said Mrs McDaid.

"They have always denied anything to do with this, it has just been Brian Nelson. I am shocked, but probably not surprised, because the truth has never been told about what happened."

She said not knowing the truth was deepening her family's pain, but added:

"The truth will come out, because if they don't tell me, they will have to tell my children. If they don't tell my children they will have to tell my grandchildren. There is always going to be a thorn in their side, no matter how small..."

She said the area surrounding their Newington Street home in north Belfast was "swamped with soldiers" just minutes before masked men burst into their home and shot her husband Terry (30) seven times in May 1988. Teresa Slane's husband was murdered five months later when loyalists burst through the door of their home in the early hours of the morning. Gerard (27) was shot dead in front of his family.

"If we could get the truth it would help us settle down and get on with our lives,"

said Teresa.

"My kids are asking questions that I cannot answer. I don't know the answers."

She said her family wants the truth.

"I want to be able to go to the graveyard and say to Gerard - You can rest now."

It is understood the high level of compensation paid to the families was more than they could have anticipated had the matter gone to a court hearing. Mrs Slane's solicitor, Eamon McMenamin of the firm Madden and Finucane, said he was never aware of a RUC role in the payments. He said the settlements were agreed at a stage in the proceedings when he was about to secure disclosure of RUC and MoD documents related to the case.

"It now appears that the payments had the added effect of preventing the truth coming out of any RUC role,"

he said.

An RUC spokeswoman said:

"As it is not our policy to comment on individual cases, it would therefore be inappropriate to comment on settlements made to any person or the circumstances surrounding them."