Loughinisland massacre documentary nominated for an Emmy
No Stone Unturned, which names suspect, nominated in investigative documentary category
A reconstruction of the scene of the Loughinisland massacre in No Stone Unturned.
No Stone Unturned, the documentary about the 1994 Loughinisland massacre and which named suspects said to be involved in the UVF killings, has been nominated for an Emmy.
The 2017 documentary, directed and written by Alex Gibney, with investigative journalist Barry McCaffrey and producer Trevor Birney, was nominated in the outstanding investigative documentary category.
No Stone Unturned explored events in 1994 when the UVF burst into the Heights Bar in in the Co Down village of Loughinisland, murdered six people and injured a number of others, as they watched Ireland play Italy in the World Cup.
It has long been said that collusion between security forces and the paramilitaries impeded the investigation, and that informers were being protected.
The documentary, painstakingly researched by journalist Barry McCaffrey, reveals a litany of corruption before, during and after the massacre. The film indicates RUC Special Branch had prior knowledge, and that the gang, which included at least one informer, went on to carry out other attacks. The film also, for the first time, publicly names the chief suspect in the killing.
Later the two journalists involved in the documentary, Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney, were questioned by police investigating the use of material from the police ombudsman’s office. The case was dropped when judges deemed search warrants used to seize thousands of files “inappropriate”.
Tweeting about the nomination, Barry McCaffrey said: “Great news No Stone Unturned nominated for Emmy! Thinking of Louise Allen, Brendan Valentine and Brigid Green who are no longer with us but campaigned for 25 years for truth for families #loughinisland.”
Trevor Birney tweeted “Congratulations to everyone who worked with us and took part in the film.... Most of all we recognise the dignity of the Loughinisland families who put their trust in us and have stood by us.” Alex Gibney agreed, “Yes, most important of all. Dedicated to the memory of those who were killed.”
After the massacre, the RUC vowed to catch the killers, Queen Elizabeth sent letters of sympathy to the families, and Conservative secretary of state, Patrick Mayhew, visited and told reporters outside the bar that the authorities would leave “no stone unturned”. The phrase became the title for the documentary about the massacre and its aftermath.
Nobody has ever been arrested for the murders.
Prolific film-maker Alex Gibney has made documentaries investigating subjects as diverse as Scientology, Enron and Lance Armstrong.
In an interview with the Irish Times, Donald Clarke asked Gibney if he had any reservations about the decision to publicly name the chief suspect in the killing. “I thought it was appropriate and served the public interest,” he says. “For many years - and we chronicle this - there was so much evidence pointing to him, but there seemed to be more effort made at protecting him than at ferreting out the truth.”
Even now the suspect’s name does not appear readily in online searches.
The other nominations for Outstanding Investigative Documentary are UN Sex Abuse Scandal; Documenting Hate; Myanmar’s Killing Field; and I Am Evidence.
Last week two Irish actors were among the nominees for this year’s Emmy entertainment awards.
Fiona Shaw received her first two Emmy nominations - in the categories of Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Killing Eve, and Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Fleabag.
Chris O’Dowd was also nominated for an Emmy, in the Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series category, for his role in the US series State of the Union, which follows a couple in marriage counselling. Game of Thrones, which was made in Belfast, broke records with 32 nominations
The 71st annual Emmy Awards ceremony will take place on September 22nd and will air on Fox.