Belfast Telegraph

Claims RUC men 'partied' in back of van used in Loughgall 'sickening': Sinn Fein

By Mark Edwards

A Sinn Fein MP has branded claims that RUC members held parties in the van used in the Loughall massacre as "sickening."

The Irish News has reported a former RUC member boasted how he and colleagues held "parties" in a van where several IRA men were shot dead by the SAS more than 30 years ago.

The claim was made earlier this week on a Facebook page called "Hereford Veterans Association", which is understood to be used by British army veterans.

Hereford is the home of the SAS regiment.

A former RUC member, posting underneath the picture of the van, wrote: "During continuity training in 1988 we'd have parties in the back of it. The orange lights of HG (Gough Barracks) made for an interesting spectacle as they shone the very many bullet holes."

The post was later removed.

An eight man IRA unit and a passing civilian were shot dead in Loughgall on May 8, 1987 as they attempted to launch an attack on an RUC station in the village.

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The IRA terror gang shot dead in Loughgall by the SAS in May 1987, clockwise from top left: Patrick McKearney, Tony Gormley, Jim Lynagh, Paddy Kelly, Eugene Kelly, Seamus Donnelly, Gerard O’Callaghan and Declan Arthurs

It is believed three IRA men died while sitting in the van, while others were shot and killed outside the van when the SAS ambushed the unit.

Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy said the claims will add to the grief of the families of the IRA men.

The Mid Ulster MP said: “Our first thoughts are with the friends and families of the nine men killed at Loughgall in May 1987.

“Claims that members of the RUC disrespected their memory in such a callous, calculated and deliberate way are sickening and will only add to the hurt and grief of the families.

“The actions of these RUC members stand in stark contrast to the actions of the Loughgall families who have been campaigning in a dignified and respectful manner for inquests into the deaths of their loved ones in order to access the truth of what happened on that awful day.

“Sinn Féin supports the right of the Loughgall families, and the families of all those bereaved by the conflict, to an inquest and we will continue to do so."

PANews BT_P-76a16b65-fd15-4292-9b5a-45f21de78860_I1.jpg
The scene in May 1987 following an attack on Loughgall RUC station, Co Armagh, during which eight IRA members were killed in an SAS ambush

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