Northern Ireland

Loughinisland killings: Ritchie 'knows suspects' names'

Loughinisland, UVF killings Image copyright victims' families
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

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie says she knows the names of those suspected of murdering six people in Loughinisland, County Down, in 1994.

The Catholic men were killed by the Ulster Volunteer Force at the Heights Bar as they watched a football match.

No one has ever been convicted of the killings.

In June, a Police Ombudsman investigation concluded that there was collusion between some police officers and the loyalist gunmen.

However, it said there was no evidence that the police had prior knowledge.

Speaking during a debate at Westminster on Wednesday, Ms Ritchie, SDLP, said she was "aware of the names" of those suspected of involvement in the attack.

She said the PSNI should "bring them in for questioning" and confirmed that recently she had raised the matter with the PSNI Chief Constable, George Hamilton.

Image caption The attack took place on 18 June 1994 at the Heights Bar in Loughinisland

Mrs Ritchie told fellow MPs that she knew all those who were killed in 1994 and that she was related to two of the dead men.

She said "there must be truth and justice " and said that the investigation into the murders must be stepped up and "resources must be made available to the PSNI ".

Prime Minister Theresa May said any allegations of police misconduct would be "taken seriously".

Speaking during Prime Minister's Question Time in the House of Commons, Mrs May said the government had accepted the ombudsman's report.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley asked the Northern Ireland Office Minister Kris Hopkins for his definition of the word collusion and said people needed some clarity.

Mr Hopkins said it was not up to him to define what collusion meant.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan raised the behaviour of police officers during the investigation into the murders and said there was "a fatal flaw in the culture of policing ".

Mr Hopkins said the government was sorry for "any failings by the police ".

He said that the Chief Constable George Hamilton had apologised to the Loughinsland families.

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