Collusion behind Loughinisland
Collusion behind Loughinisland

A report into the RUC police’s handling of one of the major loyalist massacres of the conflict is expected to reveal that four British Crown force agents were aware that unionist paramilitaries were planning the atrocity.

But it has also emerged that “new evidence” has surfaced that will delay publication of the report for a second time in as many years.

Six Catholic men were gunned down while they watched Ireland’s opening match of the 1994 football World Cup.

It is expected that the investigation will highlight the role of informers inside the UVF who ordered or helped organise the attack on the Heights bar in the village of Loughinisland in June 1994.

Those mentioned by the office of the current police ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, included men who provided the car used to take the killers to and from the County Down village.

The report will also criticise the RUC’s decision to destroy the car.

It is understood that the killers were a “special unit” that reported directly to the UVF group’s Shankill Road leadership in Belfast. The identities of those involved were known only to the UVF leadership.

In the days following the killings, David Ervine, the late leader of the PUP, which spoke for the UVF, falsely briefed reporters in east Belfast to claim that the attack had not been sanctioned by the organisation’s leadership.

The massacre was a revenge attack after UVF commanders Colin Craig and Trevor King were killed by the INLA on the Shankill Road on 16 June.

The UVF then conducted a killing spree against the general Catholic population, shooting dead taxi driver Gerard Brady on 17 June before sending a murder squad to Loughinisland the following day.

Among the six men who died after the UVF sprayed the bar with rounds from an AK-47 and a Czech-made rifle was 87-year-old Barney Green, the oldest victim of the conflict.

The other victims were Adrian Rogan (34), Eamon Byrne (39), his brother-in-law Patsy O’Hare (35), Malcolm Jenkinson (54), and Dan McCreanor (59).

The report was due to be published during the summer of last year but the families are still awaiting answers.

Their lawyer Niall Murphy said the families “remain resolute and look forward to the report being published”.

But he expressed concern that evidence which may affect the report’s outcome and would delay its release had only just been discovered.

“We must ask the very grave question as to why this clearly relevant and potentially vital information has not come to light before now during the ombudsman’s investigation, which we were assured would be thorough and professional,” he said.

“The real trauma, disappointment and despair in all of this sad saga is that of the families who will have to suffer again the outcome of a less than acceptable report and investigation into the brutal murders of their loved ones.”

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