Belfast Telegraph

Families reject pub killings report

Relatives of six men murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland have rejected the findings of a fresh report into the massacre and accused police of colluding with the killers.

They believe that detectives' inquiries into the 1994 Loughinisland pub shootings were impeded by the force's desire to protect its informers within the ranks of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

The report by Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson identified failings in the police investigation following its disposal of the getaway car and the loss of some evidence but said there was insufficient evidence of collusion.

Moira Casement, a niece of one of the oldest people killed during the Troubles, disputed this, saying: "We feel that anyone who looks at the overwhelming evidence in this case with an open heart could come to no other conclusion than that there was collusion in the murder of our loved ones."

Her uncle Barney Green, 87, died in the shooting at the Heights Bar in rural Co Down. The pub was sprayed indiscriminately by UVF gunmen with bullets - six were killed and five injured. The victims had been watching the Republic of Ireland play Italy in a World Cup match.

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

The ombudsman said the disposal of the getaway car from a police station 10 months after the incident should not have taken place without the permission of murder detectives.

He also examined an allegation that a serving police officer had been involved in storing vehicles used in the attack and that he had passed on details of a witness in the investigation to a member of the public. Both matters were investigated and no action was taken against the police officers.

He added that police had demonstrated significant efforts to arrest suspects but failed to communicate effectively with victims. He made three recommendations to improve the police investigation, which the force accepted.

A police spokesman said: "There is a great sadness and frustration for all of us in policing that those responsible for this horrific crime have never been brought to justice. An ongoing serious crime review will seek to re-establish direct lines of communication with the families."

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