New Lodge Six ‘want truth to be known’
New Lodge Six ‘want truth to be known’


The families of six Catholic men all killed by the British army more than 44 years ago have asked the Six County attorney general for a new inquest.

The victims died during two separate attacks in the New Lodge district of north Belfast in February 1973.

An undercover British army unit known as the Military Research Force (MRF) was involved in killing two of the men, James Sloan and James McCann, both aged 19.

The MRF has been accused of killing Catholic civilians across Belfast in the early 1970s.

Another man, Tony Campbell was shot dead a short time later at the junction of New Lodge Road and Edlingham Street along with three other local men John Loughran, Brendan Maguire, and Ambrose Hardy. Mr Hardy was shot in the head after he emerged from a bar while waving a white cloth.

Some of those killed were trying to help the injured, including John Loughran, who had left the safety of his home.

The four men were shot by British army snipers located in observation posts at the top of high rise flats overlooking the area and from a position in the direction of Duncairn Gardens.

The British Army later claimed the men had been killed during a gun battle, but this was later shown to be untrue.

New evidence, including witness statements, gathered during a community enquiry on the 30th anniversary of the massacre, has recently been presented to Six County attorney general John Larkin. The statements directly contradict claims made by soldiers and confirm that all the victims were unarmed.

John Loughran’s brother Willie said the original inquest, which considered all six deaths in a day, was a “sham”.

“It’s very important because the memory is still fresh and as far as I’m concerned it was like yesterday,” he said.

John Loughran’s widow Ann Sullivan said she was left to care for three small children under four and a half, with her fourth child born six weeks after her husband was killed.

Ambrose Hardy’s sister Rosaleen Beatty said she will continue to campaign.

“We know the truth but want the truth to be known,” she said.

Tony Campbell’s brother Joey said local families still have a sense of “grievance” over what happened their loved ones.

Mike Ritchie from Relatives for Justice said the current coronial system will force the British authorities to hand over documentation.

“It will also mean that vital testimony from eye witnesses, whose statements wee not heard by the original inquest can at least be considered,” he said.

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