By Rebecca Black, PA
A date next March has been mooted for an inquest into the murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan.
During a brief preliminary hearing at Belfast Coroner’s Court, coroner Paddy McGurgan received an update on the disclosure of evidence files relating to the case.
The inquest had been due to take place in May 2021, but that date had to be abandoned due following delays in the PSNI handling of the disclosure process.
During the hearing on Tuesday, a lawyer acting for the PSNI, said that non-sensitive materials will be “ready for dissemination in the near future”.
“I think hopefully on the spectrum of readiness, we’re much closer to the point of dissemination than not, hopefully it will be a matter of weeks, a very short number of weeks than anything else,” he said.
Mr McGurgan said he would allow three weeks.
In terms of sensitive materials, the hearing was told it is the only matter that has the potential to disrupt the inquest listing.
Those materials were described as being “marked up for PII (public interest immunity)”.
An update is to be provided in four weeks time to ensure a “regular review of progress”.
A provisional date in March 2023 has been mooted to hear the full inquest.
Another preliminary hearing is set to take place on June 24th.
Mr McGuigan, a father-of-nine, was shot in the Short Strand in Belfast in August 2015.
His murder prompted a political crisis at Stormont amid claims IRA members were involved in the killing.
The shooting followed the murder of ex-IRA commander Jock Davison in the Markets area of the city three months earlier.
Mr Davison and Mr McGuigan had been involved in a personal dispute.
Police believe Mr McGuigan’s killers suspected him of involvement in Mr Davison’s death.
Mr McGuigan’s death led then PSNI chief constable George Hamilton to state that the Provisional IRA still existed and some of its members were involved in the murder.
He said there was no evidence the killing was sanctioned by the organisation.
The killing led to a period of instability at Stormont with DUP ministers engaging in a series of rolling resignations in protest at the IRA’s alleged involvement in the shooting.