Belfast Telegraph

Oscar winner plans film about UVF massacre of six men at Heights bar in Loughinisland

By Staff Reporter

An Oscar-winning film-maker has announced that his next project will be a documentary about the 1994 Loughinisland massacre.

Alex Gibney's feature-length film will be released by the BBC and Amazon and will build on 'Ceasefire Massacre' - a short film he made about the Heights Bar murders for sports channel ESPN.

In what became one of the most notorious atrocities of the Troubles, the UVF shot dead six football supporters in the bar as they watched the Republic of Ireland play Italy in the World Cup.

In his report into the murders, released last month, Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire concluded there was police collusion, finding that the investigation was hampered by the RUC's protection of loyalist informants. It quashed the findings of an earlier report which found significant failures in the police investigation but stopped short of finding collusion.

American director Gibney is well-known for his high profile investigative work. Highlights from his career include We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013), a portrait of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and the government's struggle for secrecy, as well as a 2008 film about the Bush administration's policy on torture and interrogation called Taxi to the Dark Side.

In 2013, Gibney took home three Emmy Awards for Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, a harrowing story of sex abuse in the Catholic church,

The director was first made aware of the Loughinisland murders by Trevor Birney, a Northern Irish producer who worked on Mea Maxima Culpa. Gibney told ESPN that, with his Irish ancestry, he was drawn to the families' search for justice. He said he saw poignancy in the timing of the murders, when the Republic's team was managed by an Englishman, Jack Charlton, many of its players were born in England and the embryonic peace process was gathering momentum.

"Despite the discovery of eyewitnesses, the recovery of the getaway car, the guns, balaclavas, fingerprints and DNA, why was no one charged, never mind convicted?" asked Gibney.

"Why was key evidence destroyed by local police? It turns out that the assault rifles were from Czechoslovakia, shipped to South Africa and brought into Northern Ireland with the aid of British intelligence. Were they pulling the strings for the attack and the cover-up?"

The six men who died in the Loughinisland murders were Adrian Rogan, Barney Green, Dan McCreanor, Eamon Byrne, Malcolm Jenkinson and Patsy O'Hare. Five men were injured. No one has ever been brought to justice for the atrocity.

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