The families of six men shot dead in the New Lodge area of Belfast have called on the British government to launch a new investigation into their deaths after a former unionist paramilitary admitted he helped plan the attack with British intelligence.
Speaking in the week following the 34th anniversary of the killings a man, using the pseudonym John Black, told the Sunday Business Post he was involved in the shootings.
North Belfast men Jim Sloan, Jim McCann, Tony Campbell, Brendan Maguire, John Loughran and Ambrose Hardy - ‘The Six’ - were shot dead during a 90-minute period on the night of February 3 and the early hours of February 4 1973.
While the British Army admitted shooting four of the men dead, no-one has ever admitted responsibility for the killing of Mr Sloan and Mr McCann.
The IRA later admitted that Sloan, Campbell and McCann had been members but had not been on active service when killed.
Speaking at a press conference on behalf of the families, Willy Loughran, whose brother John was killed, said they were prepared to talk with the former UVF man to find out the circumstances of the deaths.
“This revelation confirms long-held community beliefs that the New Lodge massacre was a well planned operation that was conceived of, directed and planned by British intelligence,” he said.
“It is essential for families that every new evidential lead must be vigorously and robustly pursued.
“The RUC, the British army nor the Ministry of Defence participated in the community Inquiry in November 2002.
“We were acutely aware then, as we are now, that they have a vested interest in shielding the truth about the killing of our loved ones.
“As a consequence we would have little confidence in the PSNI Historical Enquiries Team investigating any new evidence that may potentially emerge.
“Families are now seeking urgent meetings with the British and Irish governments to raise serious concerns about the far reaching implications of this revelation of high level collusion.”
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly said the families of those killed in the New Lodge massacre “have one simple demand. They want to know the truth about what happened on that night 34 years ago.”
Mr Kelly spoke of a “culture of concealment” among the British Crown forces which “must be tackled and ended”.
“The recent revelations demonstrate clearly why the British State are so keen that the truth about this event will be suppressed.”
* Raymond McCord snr, whose son Raymond was battered to death and dumped in a quarry in November 1997, will be among a group in Washington DC to meet possible presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and other public representatives over PSNI/RUC involvement in murder with the unionist paramilitaries.
Mr McCord said: “I am going to present them with a report into collusion.
“Collusion affected the two communities, Protestants and Catholics, and as far as I am concerned it isn’t a sectarian or political issue, it is a justice issue.”
Collusion victims Paul McIlwaine, Pauline Kennedy, Theresa Slane and Clare Reilly will also be present.