Northern Ireland

Margaret Ritchie wants ombudsman Hutchinson resignation

Margaret Ritchie Image copyright bbc
Image caption Margaret Ritchie said the RUC was 'rotten to the core'

The SDLP has called for the Police Ombudsman to resign following his report on the police investigation into the Loughinisland massacre.

Al Hutchinson said that the police had failed the families of six people murdered in the 1994 UVF attack.

But he said there was insufficient evidence to support claims the police had protected agents who were involved.

SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie said his findings were contrary "to a mountain of evidence of collusion".

The South Down MP said: "After a very long wait the ombudsman's report has come up short on Loughinisland. It completely lets down the victims' families and the wider community.

"Al Hutchinson paints a picture of an incompetent keystone cops type of police force when the reality was that the RUC and Special Branch were rotten to the core.

"The ombudsman has done a great disservice to the families of those murdered, as he has done to other groups of victims.

"It is now time for him to go. The office of the Police Ombudsman is vitally important to confidence in policing and justice in the north and Mr Hutchinson has repeatedly failed to measure up."

Sinn Fein MLA Caitriona Ruane said the report marked the beginning of a new phase in the relatives' campaign for truth.

"If ever there was a case which demonstrated collusion it is the murders at Loughinisland," she said.

"That is the only conclusion which can be reached, even from the information put in the public domain today by the ombudsman.

"His failure to reach that very obvious conclusion on the basis of the evidence in front of him is a matter which he needs to explain."

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