Scale of collusion in Loughinisland massacre shocking - Hazzard
Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has said the scale of collusion in the murder of six men in Loughinisland in 1994 and the subsequent attempts to protect those responsible is shocking.
Speaking following the publication of a Police Ombudsman's report into the massacre, the South Down MLA said;
"This report from the Police Ombudsman into the Loughinisland massacre reveals the undeniable and shocking scale of collusion between British agents, the RUC and the UVF gang who carried out the attack.
"Dr Michael Maguire said in his report that he has 'no hesitation in unambiguously determining that collusion is a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders’.
"This report also outlines the catalogue of collusion before and after the massacre.
· The importation of the weapons used in the murders.
· The role of agents directly involved in and in the planning of the killings
· The active participation of members of the state forces in the killings
· Collusion between the RUC and UVF resulting in suspects being tipped off that they were to arrested
· Failure to follow up information on the attack
· 'Catastrophic failures' in the investigation of suspects.
“This ultimately led to a significant undermining of the investigation.
"These 'fundamental failings' in the Loughinisland investigation meant that no one has been held accountable and that families have had to endure continued frustrations and obstruction in their 22-year campaign for justice.
"The local community has always known about the collusion in the massacre.
“No one can now deny that the British government and its forces actively colluded with loyalist death squads to murder Irish citizens and then went to great lengths to protect those responsible.
"I welcome this report from the Ombudsman and pay tribute to the courage and determination of the Loughinisland families.
"Sinn Féin will continue to stand with the families of those killed and wounded at Loughinisland as they campaign for truth and justice."