Loughinisland solicitor on legacy requirements
The lawyer representing relatives of those killed in the Loughinisland massacre has said the findings of a documentary into the atrocity has highlighted the need to prevent a 'national security veto' on any future legacy mechanisms.
Niall Murphy, who has worked with the families for over a decade, said they are now considering asking the Attorney General John Larkin for fresh inquests into the six men killed in the 1994 attack.
They were killed when the UVF burst into the Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down in June 1994 during a World Cup match and sprayed those inside with automatic gunfire.
The dead were 34-year-old Adrian Rogan, Malcolm Jenkinson (53), Barney Green (87), Daniel McCreanor (59), Patrick O'Hare (35), and Eamon Byrne (39).
Mr Murphy said the remarkable findings of the documentary will also form part of the evidence for an ongoing civil case against the Chief Constable and the PSNI for failure to properly investigate the killings.
"In normal circumstances we would expect arrests, charges and prosecutions given the amount of new evidence now available", said Mr Murphy.
"However, the families already have civil cases ongoing and are considering a request for fresh inquests.
"From a legal perspective we will also be concentrating on defending the police ombudsman's findings from challenge by retired officers".
Two retired police officers lodged a High Court challenge to the Police Ombudsman report last August, in a bid to quash the report’s findings.
Dr Michael Maguire’s report, which was published last June, was damning in its criticism of the original RUC investigation.
While the findings were accepted by PSNI chief constable George Hamilton and former British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Northern Ireland Retired Police Officers Association challenged the report.
Mechanisms to deal with the past were agreed by both the DUP and Sinn Féin in the Fresh Start deal, which was never implemented prior to the collapse of the Stormont assembly.
The British government said that the time that they would have a 'national security' veto over all documents released to a proposed Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) which would carry out legacy investigations.
Mr Murphy said the Loughinisland case demonstrates why this would be unacceptable.
"This case, the findings of the ombudsman and of the team behind No Stone Unturned, demonstrates, probably more than any other current case, why a British government veto cannot be allowed to hamper legacy investigations".