Gareth O'Connor was later found dead in a car that had been salvaged from a canal in Newry. His father Mark, who claimed his son had been involved in a Provisional IRA money scam, made it very clear that his son ‘was abducted and murdered by the Provisional IRA.’
He outlined his frustration in trying to extract information about his son’s fate.
After he disappeared, I rang everyone I could get. I rang Gerry Adams who said he was too busy. Gerry Kelly came down to the house on two occasions. He came in and took all his notes and said he would come back. He came back to say that he knew nothing, he could find out nothing and said all he knew was that our son was classed as an informer so that he couldn't help anybody.
In short he was given the run-around, in similar fashion to the stonewalling victims of British state killings endure when they seek information about the circumstances
pertaining to the deaths of their loved ones.
Against the claims of both Orde and Mark O’Connor, there was the assurance of Gerry Kelly that the Provisional IRA was not involved. Few considered that worth a hill of beans.
An inquest into the Gareth O'Connor's death was adjourned after it emerged that Kelly had given an OTR letter to the man British police had targeted as the chief suspect. Given that Kelly appeared to be avoiding handing that type of letter out to those not belonging to the Provos - even refusing to testify on behalf of Gerry McGeough that such letters actually existed - suggest the main suspect in the case remained loyal to Sinn Fein.
Kelly somewhat discomfited by the revelation sought to distance himself from it. His account of his dealings with the NIO might be accurate as there is no reason to be confident that the British are playing with a bat any straighter than the one Kelly wields. Yet it is hard to take Kelly seriously when he states that 'this family deserves access to truth and I would support them in that.'
He does not support them at all. He is merely positioning himself in relation to the issue, given that he can hardly say he does not support them. He supports the type of truth that the family of Joe O’Connor got from him and his cohorts three years prior to the disappearance of Gareth O’Connor.
Unlike Gareth O’Connor the fate of Joe O’Connor was a much more open and shut case. He was not spirited away but gunned down in broad daylight in full view of passers-by. The Provisional IRA having killed him then lied to cover it up and followed up with the imposition of a regime of fear to underpin a "regime of truth" in which nothing was true other than the power to impose as truth the lie the IRA sought pedalled. The body was assisted by Sinn Fein who organized intimidation to silence anyone challenging the Provisional IRA narrative.
The cases of both O'Connor victims demonstrates that Sinn Fein has an attitude to victims which mirrors that of the British state. The party only wants truth when it is politically advantageous to it and disadvantageous to its adversaries. Bottom line is victims don’t matter all that much unless there is political capital to be accrued. Within the hierarchy of victims that Sinn Fein loves to occupy the moral high ground in opposition to, people like Gareth O’Connor and Joe O Connor are at the bottom of the line, the back of the bus.