Belfast Telegraph

Loughinisland film is damning indictment of police and a timely reminder that all our victims deserve to get justice

Editor's Viewpoint

The release of No Stone Unturned, which documents the UVF attack on a Loughinisland pub in June 1994 in which six men were shot dead and another five injured, throws in to sharp focus the whole issue of dealing with the toxic legacy of the Troubles.

According to the evidence so far made public - most damningly in a report by the Police Ombudsman - this was a disturbing but not unique case involving State collusion that has allowed those guilty of the murders to escape justice.

The Ombudsman report, released last year, noted a number of failings in the police investigation of the massacre including a failure to pass on vital intelligence information to investigators, protection of informants and destruction of exhibits. It said there were "catastrophic" failures in the probe.

His conclusion is chilling: "When viewed collectively, I have no hesitation in unambiguously determining that collusion is a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders." The film's claim that the wife of one of the suspects told police of his involvement, named the other members of the gang, and also admitted being involved herself in the planning, yet none of them were ever charged even though the husband and wife were arrested and questioned, is in the eyes of the public another damning indictment of the police.

Taken together the report and the film - which names the suspects - bring some satisfaction to the bereaved relatives and the survivors, but also a sense of burning injustice that no one has been convicted for the atrocity. They are not alone in that quest for justice.

Thousands of people are in a similar position - some as a result of the security forces being overwhelmed with the sheer scale of the killings, and sadly some from some sort of collusion.

Loyalist and republican terrorists were responsible for the vast majority of deaths and must remain stained by that slaughter, but failings by the security forces in some instances compounded the agony for bereaved families.

Belfast Telegraph

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