Northern Ireland

Loughinisland: Reaction to NI Police Ombudsman report

The six men who died when UVF gunmen attacked the Heights Bar in Loughinisland
Image caption The six men who died: (From top left) Adrian Rogan, Barney Green, Dan McCreanor, (from bottom left) Eamon Byrne, Malcolm Jenkinson and Patsy O'Hare

Families and others have been reacting to a report by Northern Ireland's Police Ombudsman which found there was collusion between some police officers and loyalist gunmen who killed six Catholics 22 years ago.

The murdered men were watching the World Cup match between Ireland and Italy in 1994 when loyalist gunmen burst into the Heights Bar in Loughinisland and opened fire. Five others were wounded.

The report said there was no evidence police had prior knowledge of the Ulster Volunteer Force attack in Loughinisland, County Down, in 1994.

It was also highly critical of the initial investigation, listing "catastrophic failings" by the police.

Emma Rogan, daughter of Adrian Rogan

"Today is one of mixed emotions. I'm thinking of my daddy and all those others who died.

"This report has vindicated our long held suspicions.

"Our journey has been a very difficult one and we have travelled all around the world, we have been vilified at home but we have exposed collusion."

Moira Casement, niece of Barney Green

"Today we have got the truth.

"This ombudsman's office factual report gives no hesitation in unambiguously determining that collusion was a significant feature in the Loughinisland murders, not least, that the importation of south African weapons was overseen and directed by British intelligence, RUC, Special Branch and British Army.

"This report makes clear that our loved ones were murdered as a direct result of these actions."

Aidan O'Toole - injured in the shooting

"We were a small rural community that was relatively untouched by the conflict. That this atrocity was visited upon us, just before the ceasefires and peace process, has added to the hurt and suffering, the 'what ifs'.

"This makes the call for truth and justice all the more important.

"We all deserve and demand justice from the British government who are ultimately responsible."

Paddy McCreanor, nephew of Dan McCreanor

"This is a good day for the Loughinisland justice group, a very good day.

"It's just so hard to take in all the information that we've just received in the report

"Everything as regards the one famous word, collusion; collusion is no illusion and collusion happened. The truth has come out and that is all we ever wanted from day one.

"I don't know how we've coped with the situation. It's been a living nightmare."

Northern Ireland's Chief Constable George Hamilton

"This report makes uncomfortable reading, particularly in relation to the alleged actions of police officers at the time.

"The ombudsman has stated that collusion was a feature of these murders in that there were both wilful and passive acts carried out by police officers.

"This is totally unacceptable and those responsible should be held accountable.

"We apologised to the families at that time and I offer my sincere apologies to them once again today, for both the investigative failings and that collusion was a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders."

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Media captionClara Reilly from Relatives for Justice says it's time for accountability for the attacks

Clara Reilly from Relatives for Justice

"Thefamilies of those killed in Loughinisland should not have had to go to court for information. We've had report after report after report which proves collusion. It's time for accountability."

UK government spokesperson

"The horrific terrorist attack at Loughinisland in 1994 was an appalling outrage for which there could never be any justification. It was widely condemned at the time and we repeat that condemnation today.

"The UK Government has noted the contents of the Police Ombudsman's report and the PSNI's response.

"The report makes clear that those responsible for the carnage at Loughinisland were the terrorists who planned and carried it out.

It also reaches some very grave conclusions about the conduct of the police. The Government takes allegations of wrongdoing by the police very seriously.

Where there is evidence it should be pursued and those responsible held accountable. Everyone is subject to the rule of law."

Charlie Flanagan, Irish minister for foreign affairs

"The Ombudsman's report fundamentally vindicates the concerns the families have raised over many years and their continuing search for justice.

"The Ombudsman's findings are deeply disturbing - in particular his determination that "collusion is a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders".

"The findings must now be carefully examined with a view to the question of further investigations and possible prosecutions."

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