Loughinisland relatives overwhelmed by armband gesture
Relatives of victims of the Loughinisland atrocity have said they are overwhelmed at the Republic of Ireland team’s plan to wear armbands to mark the 18th anniversary of the shootings.
Six Catholic men were shot dead in the sectarian massacre in the Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down, on June 18, 1994, as the Republic played Italy at the World Cup in America.
Now at the upcoming Euro 2012 tournament, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has revealed organisers Uefa gave permission for the team to wear the armbands, during a game between both teams 18 years on.
Two gunmen from the Ulster Volunteer Force burst in and opened fire indiscriminately killing six men and seriously injuring five others.
The six dead were Adrian Rogan (34) Malcolm Jenkinson (53), Barney Greene (87), Daniel McCreanor (59), Patrick O'Hare (35), and Eamon Byrne (39).
Mr Green, aged 87, was the oldest victim of the Northern Ireland Troubles.
Despite 16 people being arrested over the years no one has been convicted of the murders.
John Delaney, FAI chief executive, said the commemoration is particularly poignant as the Republic will be playing Italy on the anniversary.
“What happened in Loughinisland in 1994 was an awful tragedy and deeply moving for all football fans. I would like to thank Uefa for assisting us in commemorating this atrocity and take the opportunity to remember all those who lost their lives in the Troubles,” he said.
Niall Murphy, solicitor for the families, said: “The families are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the gesture. They are touched that this tragic event can be commemorated on such a poignant day, the 18th anniversary of the atrocity.
“We would like to thank the FAI and Uefa for their assistance in providing a forum to recall the awful event that took place on that fateful day when Ireland played Italy,” he added.