Belfast Telegraph

Loughinisland survivor: Police knew killer gang were from start... it is now time for justice

By Malachi O'Doherty

A survivor of the Loughinisland massacre has accused the police of not doing enough to apprehend the killers.

Aidan O'Toole says that they know who the men were who entered the Heights Bar on a June night in 1994 and killed Adrian Rogan (34), Malcolm Jenkinson (52), Barney Greene (87), Daniel McCreanor (59), Patrick O'Hare (35) and Eamon Byrne (39), all Catholic civilians.

Mr O'Toole, who worked in the pub, was shot in the back but managed to take cover in a storeroom. He still has a bullet in one of his kidneys.

He was speaking last night before a private showing of No Stone Unturned to families of the victims. The documentary reveals that an informer in the UVF gang that planned the attack had provided information that could have enabled the police to stop it. The informant had said, however, that the attack had been called off.

Last year a Police Ombudsman's report accepted that there had been collusion.

Mr O'Toole, who still works in the Heights Bar, said: "This film is going to tell a tale. It will expose them and hopefully get some justice for the families. The police obviously knew who done the shooting from the very start. Everybody knew. I just call on the police to arrest them and charge them." The police, however, have said they are treating the leaking of an unpublished Ombudsman's report to the maker of the film as theft.

Mr O'Toole believes the film-makers have done a great service to the families of the victims and has no sympathy for the view that the film-makers are in the wrong.

He said: "I think everyone in Loughinisland is just seeking justice and truth, to try and get the people convicted who done it and find out how far the collusion went."

He described the justice group in the village as "very strong" and said it was supported by all the families of the victims.

Mr O'Toole saw the film himself for the first time at a private showing some weeks ago and described it as an emotional experience.

He said: "I knew all of them, the ones who died. They were good friends of mine and all gentlemen. Then we lost another good friend who was shot that night, Brendan Valentine."

Mr Valentine recently died of cancer at the age of 68.

"He never got to see the film. Willie O'Hare has died too. He was in the bar that night. He lost his son-in-law, so it is very emotional for their families," Mr O'Toole said.

He is 50 now, and was 26 at the time of the attack. He and his wife Louise had a six-week-old baby, Gavin, at the time.

Louise rushed to the bar immediately after the shooting. He said his wife was "a very strong woman".

He added: "Only for her, I wouldn't have pulled through."

Mr O'Toole said he would not have been able to cope with life if he had not gone back to working in the pub. That would have been like letting the killers win.

"I'd just curl up and... I don't know. I had to get back to work."

He added: "The noises come back to you. It never leaves you. But we are a strong group."

Belfast Telegraph

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