Northern Ireland

Loughinisland families receive damages and apology

Loughinisland victims Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Six men were shot dead as they watched a football match in a pub in Loughinisland in 1994

Relatives and survivors of the Loughinisland killings are to receive damages as part of a settlement reached in their legal action against the office of the Police Ombudsman for NI.

The ombudsman's office has also issued an apology to those bereaved and injured.

This was for "failings" in its first report into the sectarian murder of six Catholic men by the UVF in June 1994.

Five others were wounded.

Proceedings centred on conclusions by former ombudsman Al Hutchinson in a report in 2011 that there was insufficient evidence of collusion between RUC officers and the loyalist paramilitary killers.

Relatives of the Loughinisland victims sued the ombudsman's office over the hurt and upset caused by the findings.

Their civil action was settled at the High Court in Belfast on Friday, with confirmation that undisclosed damages are to be paid out.

Following the resolution, a spokesman for the ombudsman said: "The office apologises to victims and their families for its failings at that time."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The findings in the 2011 report by the then police ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, were later quashed by the High Court in Belfast

The report of 2011 was later quashed by the High Court, resulting in a new report and different findings reached by the Police Ombudman in 2016, Dr Michael Maguire.

It said there was no evidence police had prior knowledge of the UVF attack in Loughinisland, County Down, in 1994.

But it confirmed claims by the victims' families that there was collusion.

The victims were watching the match between Ireland and Italy in the World Cup when loyalist gunmen burst into the Heights Bar in the County Down village and opened fire on 18 June 1994.

The men who died were Adrian Rogan, 34; Malcolm Jenkinson, 53; Barney Green, 87; Daniel McCreanor, 59; Patrick O'Hare, 35; and Eamon Byrne, 39.

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