Why are Arlene Arkinson files being withheld? Doherty

Arlene Arkinson has never been found after she disappeared in 1994

Arlene Arkinson has never been found after she disappeared in 1994

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West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Dohery wants to know who the Northern Ireland Office is trying to protect by refusing to fully disclose files relating to paedophile and serial killer Robert Howard who was suspected of having murdered Castlederg teenager Arlene Arkinson in 1994.

He said he was deeply concerned the NIO will not release files relevant to Arlene’s murder.

“I am deeply concerned that the NIO has approved a Public Interest Immunity (PII) application to withhold documents linked to the case,” he said.

“Given the fact that a former leading detective on the case has stated he was certain that paedophile and serial killer Robert Howard was responsible for the murder of Arlene Arkinson it is now time all files relating to the case are released.

“Given the death of Robert Howard last year the question remains, who is the NIO trying to protect?” he asked.

“This decision only fuels speculation about the nature of Howard’s relationship with the RUC.

“It is appalling that the NIO is blocking disclosure of information held by the PSNI about the disappearance and murder of a 15-year-old girl.

“Arlene Arkinson’s family deserve answers and the years of cover up need to end.

“The inquest should proceed as soon as possible and the NIO needs to lift this shameful effort to conceal the truth from Arlene’s family and the public.”