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Apology for police failings over Loughinisland

By PA Reporters

Published 08/09/2016

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie

The Government has apologised for "any failings by the police" in trying to bring the terrorists behind the Loughinisland massacre to justice.

But Northern Ireland Minister Kris Hopkins shied away from calls for an apology to the victims, survivors and their families following the 1994 murders in which six Catholic men were shot dead by the UVF.

Theresa May was also pressed by the South Down MP Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) to ensure that prosecutions are pursued, an apology is forthcoming and compensation provided.

The Prime Minister described the Loughinisland killings as a "terrible evil" and said that it was for the PSNI to pursue the murder investigation.

Six people were killed and five injured when two UVF gunmen burst into a packed bar on June 18, 1994, and fired at customers watching Republic of Ireland play Italy in the World Cup.

Significant police collusion with the murderers was exposed in an investigation by Northern Ireland's Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire. No one has ever been brought to justice.

Mr Hopkins, replying to a parliamentary debate in Westminster, reaffirmed that the Government accepted the Police Ombudsman's report.

"Of course the Government deeply regrets that the terrorists who committed these vicious attacks have never been brought to justice, and we are sorry for any failings by the police in relation to this case," he said. "However, the Ombudsman's report makes it very clear that those responsible for this despicable attack were the Ulster Volunteer Force terrorist gang, who planned it and carried it out, leaving utter devastation in the aftermath and for many years thereafter.

"The report also categorically states that the police had no prior knowledge of the attack that would have enabled them to prevent it."

Those murdered were Barney Green (87), Adrian Rogan (34), Malcolm Jenkinson (53), Daniel McCreanor (59), Patrick O'Hare (35) and Eamon Byrne (39).

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