Ombudsman to hold new inquiry into bar massacre
The North’s Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, is to conduct a new investigation into the 1994 Loughinisland massacre after the Belfast High Court yesterday quashed a report into the killings by his predecessor, Al Hutchinson.
The families of the six men murdered by the UVF in the attack on the Heights Bar in the Co Down village, who took the legal case to have the first report overturned, welcomed the “binning” of Mr Hutchinson’s original findings.
Mr Hutchinson, in a 2011 report, found that there were police failings in the investigation but insufficient evidence of any RUC collusion. The families have long claimed elements of the RUC colluded in the attack, which left six men dead and five seriously wounded. They suspect the killers were not brought to court to protect UVF informants.
UVF gunmen walked into the Heights Bar and opened fire with assault rifles as the men were watching Ireland defeat Italy in the World Cup in New York on June 18th, 1994.
The Heights Bar had a mixed clientele. All six who died were Catholics, with one of the victims, Barney Green (87), one of the oldest to die in the Troubles. Sixteen people were arrested but no one was convicted for the killings.
This summer the Ireland soccer team wore black armbands in their Euro 2012 game against Italy to remember those who were killed, injured and bereaved.
Dr Maguire, in a statement after yesterday’s High Court hearing, accepted that there “may be deficiencies in specific areas of report, and is therefore able to accept the court direction setting it aside”.
“Dr Maguire takes the view that further investigative work will be necessary before a new public statement can be published,” his statement added.
Emma Rogan, whose father, Adrian, was killed in the attack, speaking outside the court on behalf of the families, welcomed the overturning of the Hutchinson report. The families were “vindicated”.
“The report has just been quashed and is now officially in the bin. Mr Maguire can now go back and start again, and hopefully come out with a report that gives us truth and justice.”