Loughinisland murders police collusion 'totally unacceptable', says PSNI chief
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton described collusion in the 1994 Loughinisland murders as "totally unacceptable" and said those responsible should be held accountable.
The Police Ombudsman found collusion was a "significant feature" of the 1994 Loughinisland murders in a damning report published on Thursday.
In response Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “The Police Service of Northern Ireland fully supports the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.
"It is an essential part of the mechanisms by which the PSNI can be held to account and as such, I accept his report and findings into the brutal attack carried out at the Heights Bar, Loughinisland, on 18 June, 1994.
“In 2011, we accepted the findings of the previous PONI report into the murders and conducted a further review of the case as a result. We apologised to the families at that time and I offer my sincere apologies to them once again today, for both the investigative failings and that collusion was a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders.
“This report makes uncomfortable reading, particularly in relation to the alleged actions of police officers at the time.
"The Ombudsman has stated that collusion was a feature of these murders in that there were both wilful and passive acts carried out by police officers."
Mr Hamilton continued: "This is totally unacceptable and those responsible should be held accountable.
"I want to reassure the families and the public that I have co-operated fully with the Ombudsman and I will continue to do so if he determines to take this further.
"It would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment in detail, pending the outcome of any potential further criminal investigation by the Ombudsman on this matter.
“These were appalling murders carried out by those with evil intent and I am very aware of the hurt and anger felt by the families of those killed and those injured.
"The PSNI remains firmly committed to apprehending those responsible for these murders and appeal to the community for information to allow us to do so."