Analysis: Loughinisland families fight for justice continues

As the film No Stone Unturned - a startling investigation into the Loughinisland massacre - goes on general release next Friday, the obvious question is, what next for the grieving families?

The two alleged gunmen, the getaway driver and a woman who it was claimed admitted to helping plan the 1994 attack, are all named in the documentary.

Ronald Hawthorne, his wife Hilary, Gorman McMullan and a third man who has since left Northern Ireland are all named in the remarkable film which is currently under consideration by the Academy Awards.

Evidence of cover up and conspiracy beyond what was already included in a damning report into the attack, released last year by Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire, is also contained in the film by Oscar winning producer Alex Gibney.

In any civilized democracy, such revelations about involvement in mass murder would or should result in criminal charges and some kind of judicial justice for those families who lost loved ones or were injured in the attack.

Northern Ireland, where 3000 Troubles related murders remain unsolved, is a far from normalised society and therefore the chances of that happening at this late stage are remote.

Two retired officers have sought a High Court injunction to have the Ombudsman's findings into Loughinisland struck out.

In a statement to the Irish News this week Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin quite rightly condemned the murder of six innocent men gunned down while watching a World Cup football match, but also questioned the use of leaked and 'sensitive' documents in the making of the film.

Adding that the PSNI have now asked that the origin of documents be included in an ongoing investigation into ombudsman's office leaks.

A statement that is likely to anger the Loughinisland family members in terms of police priorities.

While the documentary paints a bleak picture of how families were so brutally bereaved and then failed time and time again it does not mean this is the end of the road.

Their legal team, in the form of the doggedly determined Niall Murphy, said last night they have a number of options open to them, including the possibility of fresh inquests and an ongoing civil case that could see the families of those who lost loved ones over 23-years ago finally have a day in court.

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