Belfast Telegraph

Yet another delay on road to justice and truth for Loughinisland families

By Victoria Leonard

The daughter of a man killed at Loughinisland has said victims' relatives are "frustrated" by a fresh delay in the case involving the Police Ombudsman's report into the massacre.

Emma Rogan called for the families of all those who died in the Troubles to "unite and stand together in the quest for truth".

Outside the High Court with a group of victims' relatives yesterday, Sinn Fein MLA Ms Rogan, whose 34-year-old father Adrian was one of six Catholic men gunned down by the UVF in the Heights Bar, said the families were simply searching for the truth.

Mr Rogan lost his life alongside Patrick O'Hare (35); Eamon Byrne (39); Malcolm Jenkinson (53); Daniel McCreanor (59), and Barney Green (87) as they watched a World Cup fixture between the Republic of Ireland and Italy on June 18, 1994.

Yesterday a court heard that the judge who ruled the Ombudsman's damning report into collusion in the massacre be quashed should recuse himself from the case.

Mr Justice McCloskey will now announce next Friday whether he is withdrawing.

Ms Rogan said: "We are obviously frustrated by the delay of another week.

"It has been a long journey for every member of this group and for all the families.

"Families shouldn't have to do this. They shouldn't have to come here and hear due process.

"What we want is the truth, all we ask for is the truth. All the families should unite and stand together in the quest for truth."

Referring to the argument in court that Mr Justice McCloskey should withdraw due to a potential public perception of subconscious bias, Michael Ritchie of Relatives for Justice said he believed the Loughinisland families were happy the issue was being addressed.

He added: "We feel that it is important for this to be aired, and now we just have to wait for the decision of the court. This is a very sensitive area."

Solicitor for the Loughinisland families Niall Murphy described the suggestion of a potential public perception of subconscious bias raised by the Police Ombudsman's legal representatives as a "very serious issue".

"The families are obliged to the court and to the carriage of the case for the opportunity to have this very serious issue raised," he said.

"We look forward to the court's judgment, which will be carefully considered, I'm sure, next Friday."

SDLP legacy spokeswoman Dolores Kelly said the Loughinisland families "must have justice after more than 20 years of campaigning".

"The Police Ombudsman's report into the murder of six innocent men in the Heights Bar has not yet been quashed," the Upper Bann MLA said.

"Last month's judgment at Belfast's High Court was bitterly disappointing for families who have campaigned for justice for over 20 years.

"Today's developments again underscore some of the unique challenges with dealing with the legacy of our past comprehensively.

"It's important that Mr Justice McCloskey takes time to consider the arguments heard today relating to unconscious bias and the need for public confidence in all aspects of cases of this nature."

She added: "The primary focus of all parties must remain on securing truth, justice and accountability for the victims of this atrocity."

Belfast Telegraph

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