Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Daughter of Loughinisland victim vows to represent all as Sinn Fein MLA

By Noel McAdam

The daughter of a man killed in the Loughinisland massacre has vowed to represent the entire South Down constituency after being co-opted to replaced new MP Chris Hazzard as an MLA.

Emma Rogan (31), was just a schoolgirl when her father Adrian (34), was killed along with five others after two UVF gunmen opened fire in a pub in the Co Down village where locals had gathered to watch the Republic of Ireland's football team take on Italy in the 1994 World Cup.

The family had recently returned from a holiday when the atrocity took place.

Ms Rogan has been a prominent member of the Loughinisland Justice Group which has been battling to uncover the truth behind the attack on the Heights Bar.

She appears to have been involved with canvassing for Mr Hazzard before last week's Westminster election, tweeting photographs from the campaign trail.

Mr Hazzard won the seat for Sinn Fein after defeating former SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie.

Ms Rogan was also pictured celebrating with Mr Hazzard as he won, tweeting "So proud of @ChrisHazzardSF! History made in South Down! No better person for the job! Great result! Time for change! Deffo no status quo!!".

Now she has been co-opted by Sinn Fein to replace Mr Hazzard in the Northern Ireland Assembly, and has spoken of her excitement to start this new chapter in her life.

In a speech last night as she was confirmed as the new MLA, she said she was proud to be a Loughinisland woman, but vowed to represent everyone across South Down.

"I am truly honoured that I will now step out into local campaigns, stand up for local families, and represent local issues at the heart of government in the years ahead," she said.

"I am very proud of the fact that I'm a Loughinisland woman through and through. I'm also very conscious that alongside my colleague Sinead Ennis I'm now an MLA for all of South Down - from Loughinisland, to Longstone and from Annaclone to Annacloy.

"So I'm excited at the thought of getting out and about with local councillors, MLAs and of course our new MP to get to grips with the issues in all of our local communities."

Ms Rogan said some of her top priorities on day one including backing the fight to protect services in the Downe Hospital and working to protect Social Security jobs in Newcastle and Ballynahinch.

"So not only is this an exciting time in my own life as I personally begin a new chapter, but it's also an exciting time for Sinn Fein in South Down."

Last year the Loughinisland Justice Group say they had received the truth at last after an investigation by the Police Ombudsman found that collusion "was a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders".

Dr Michael Maguire revealed that the murder squad responsible for the attack on the Heights Bar was involved in previous murders but had avoided arrest because the RUC's Special Branch had withheld information from detectives investigating the crimes. It emerged that guns used in the atrocity came from a large shipment of weapons imported into Northern Ireland by police informants at the most senior levels within loyalist paramilitary organisations. The watchdog's report also found that the protection of informants led to "catastrophic failures" in the police investigation into the massacre.

Last June the Loughinisland families launched civil proceedings against the PSNI and MoD, saying they finally had been told the truth - but they are now demanding justice.

Six Catholic men - Adrian Rogan (34), Patrick O'Hare (35), Eamon Byrne (39), Malcolm Jenkinson (53), Daniel McCreanor (59) and Barney Greene (87) -were killed in the attack and five others were injured.

No one has ever been convicted for Loughinisland.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph