Loughinisland families in renewed fight for justice

Loughinisland families in renewed fight for justice

8 November 2017

A FOUR-PRONGED plan of action is being rolled out by the Loughinisland Justice Group as a new film on the 1994 atrocity goes on general release.

The release of No Stone Unturned, a dramatic two-hour examination of how six men were murdered by a UVF gang in the Heights Bar in 1994, has given new impetus to a campaign by families who say they want to know the “truth” behind the attack.

The film, which is largely based on last year’s report by the Police Ombudsman that found there was collusion in the deaths, opens at Downpatrick’s Eclipse Cinema on Friday night and tickets are already being snapped up in large numbers.

Several hundred people packed into Loughinisland gaelic club last Friday night for a private screening of the film which identified the three men believed to be responsible for the murders. The man alleged to have led the gang and to have fired all the shots, lives on the outskirts of Clough and was secretly filmed by a private investigator working for the film makers.

One of the key revelations made in the film is that a woman who twice rang the police and wrote a letter to a councillor identifying the killers, was the wife of the gang leader and she admitted she had been aware the attack was being planned.

The families of the victims and survivors who formed the Loughinisland Justice Group are now planning for the next stages in their campaign which will focus on four areas:

• Ongoing civil cases against the PSNI Chief Constable and PSNI for failure to properly investigate the killings

• Looking at the possibility of asking Attorney General John Larkin to order fresh inquests into the six men who died in the attack

• Pressurising the PSNI to conduct new investigations in light of the information revealed in the film, particularly around the woman who wrote the letter apparently implicating herself in conspiracy to murder

• Defending the Police Ombudsman’s findings of collusion from an ongoing legal challenge by retired police officers.

Niall Murphy, the solicitor representing the Loughinisland families, said the findings of the documentary will form part of the ongoing civic case against the Chief Constable.

“In normal circumstances we would expect arrests, charges and prosecutions given the amount of new evidence now available,” he said. “However, the families already have civil cases ongoing and are considering a request for fresh inquests.”

PSNI assistant Chief Constable, Stephen Martin, acknowledged the “hurt and anger” felt by the families and said police remain “firmly committed” to apprehending those responsible for the attack.

He said the police would be studying the documentary, but said the PSNI is aware that sensitive documents thought to originate from the Ombudsman’s office, are suspected to have been used in the film.