Irish Republican News · June 9, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Families vindicated as report points to massacre cover-up
Families vindicated as report points to massacre cover-up

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Families of six men murdered in the Loughinisland massacre have welcomed an Ombudsman’s investigation that has finally exposed significant state collusion with the killers.

On 18 June 1994, a death squad entered a pub in the small County Down village and fired on customers with assault rifles, killing six civilians and wounding five. The pub was targeted because it was frequented mainly by Catholics, and was crowded with people watching the Ireland soccer team playing in the 1994 World Cup.

Dr Maguire Michael found that at least one man suspected of carrying out the mass killing in the Heights Bar was a paid state agent.

The Police Ombudsman also said the murder squad had been involved in a number of other killings in the years beforehand, but had avoided arrest because the RUC police’s Special Branch intelligence unit had withheld evidence from those tasked with investigating the murder campaign.

He said some Special Branch officers adopted a “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” mindset into the massacre, for which no one was ever brought to justice.

Emma Rogan, whose father Adrian was killed, said: “Today we finally have a report by the Police Ombudsman that at last vindicates our long-held suspicions and belief that the truth about these murders was being covered up by the very people - the police - who were supposed to be protecting us, be on our side and investigate and bring to justice those responsible.”

Paddy McCreanor, nephew of victim Daniel McCreanor, said: “Collusion is no illusion and collusion happened. The truth has come out and that’s all we ever wanted.”

The families’ lawyer Niall Murphy said the scale of the collusion was “terrifying”. He called on former British Prime Minister John Major to apologise for the collusion that took place when he was in office.

“This report is one of the most damning expositions of state collusion in mass murder that has ever been published,” he said.

The families also called on current British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers to say sorry for referencing Loughinisland in a speech earlier this year about what she claimed was a “pernicious counter-narrative” of the conflict that was trying to place undue blame on the forces of the British state.

“We call on her to retract and apologise to us today,” said Ms Rogan.

In his report’s conclusion, Dr Maguire said he had “no hesitation in saying collusion was a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders”. He described failures in the overall investigation as “catastrophic” and said in too many instances the probe was characterised by “incompetence, indifference and neglect”.

The ombudsma examined the role of state agents in efforts to provide weapons to loyalist death squads from abroad during the mid to late 1980s.

He found that the Crown forces were monitoring the importation bids and information provided by state agents in high positions within the loyalist murder gangs could have helped the the recovery of weapons.

He said unrecovered weapons from the shipments were used in 70 murders and attempted murders, including those at Loughinisland. He said that after the murders, Special Branch did not use their sources in any real effort to catch the killers.

A report by previous police ombudsman Al Hutchinson in 2011 found that the RUC failed to properly investigate what happened in Loughinisland but claimed there was insufficient evidence of collusion.

Those findings were quashed after a legal challenge by relatives of those killed and Dr Maguire undertook a fresh investigation.

Sinn Fein’s Caitriona Ruane has paid tribute to the determination of the Loughinisland families for their long campaign to uncover the truth behind the massacre.

“For 22 years the families of those killed in the Loughinisland massacre have been courageously campaigning for the truth about the murder of their loved ones,” she said.

“They have had to endure the horror of the massacre, then the insult of collusion, cover ups, failed investigations and continued attempts to hide the truth.

“This obstruction by the British government and the police have only added to the hurt, pain and trauma of the families.

“They faced all of these obstacles with dignity and determination and today’s report from the Police Ombudsman have vindicated the view of the families that there was collusion at the heart of this case.

“What has been revealed is collusion on a huge scale.

“I and my party colleagues have worked with the Loughinisland families for many years, highlighting their case both here and in the European Parliament, and standing alongside human rights groups to get at the truth of what happened in 1994 and since.

“We will continue to stand with the Loughinisland families as they continue to campaign for truth and justice.”

Those murdered were Barney Green, 87, Adrian Rogan, 34, Malcolm Jenkinson, 53, Daniel McCreanor, 59, Patrick O’Hare, 35, and Eamon Byrne, 39.

© 2016 Irish Republican News