The Murder of Irish Attorney Rosemary Nelson

March 17, 1999


Northern Ireland’s predominantly Protestant police force faces allegations that it rejected a request for protection by human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson, who was killed on Sunday by a car bomb outside her home in Lurgan. Nelson had represented a number of defendants accused of belonging to the Irish Republican Army. The Red Hand Defenders, an anti-Catholic group, has claimed responsibility for the killing.

Representatives of Sinn Fein yesterday accused Northern Ireland’s police, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, of culpability in Nelson’s death, saying the force had refused to provide protection for Nelson. Protesters who took to the streets in the hours after the murder also accused the police force of complicity in the murder. The RUC flatly denied that any application for protection had ever been made on Nelson’s behalf.

Northern Ireland’s police chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan has announced that British police will head the investigation into Nelson’s killing. He has also requested help from the FBI.


  • Bernadette Devlin McAleskey, Human rights activist from Northern Ireland and close friend of Rosemary Nelson.

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