Northern Ireland news

Loughinisland journalists 'will continue to expose injustice' following arrests

Trevor Birney, left, and Barry McCaffrey were arrested as part of an investigation into the suspected theft of confidential documents from the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.
Michael McHugh, Press Association

An investigative news organisation whose journalists were arrested and later released has vowed to keep exposing injustice.

Award-winning reporters Trevor Birney (51), and Barry McCaffrey (48), were detained for questioning in connection with the alleged theft of confidential material used in their film on the 1994 Loughinisland loyalist pub shootings in the Co Down village.

They were freed on bail in Belfast on Friday evening.

An editorial from the film's makers said: "Here at The Detail, Below The Radar and Fine Point Films our journalists will not be deterred from doing their jobs.

"We are extremely proud of our investigative journalism.

"We will always seek to expose injustice and shine a light on the truth.

"We will continue to turn over the stones that others wish we would leave alone."

From left, solicitor John Finucane with his client, investigative journalist Barry McCaffrey, and Trevor Birney with his solicitor Niall Murphy leaving Musgrave police station in Belfast on Friday night. Picture by Liam McBurney, Press Association

Six men were murdered when loyalists opened fire on a crowd of football fans gathered around a TV in a pub in Loughinisland watching the Republic of Ireland play in the World Cup.

Last year's No Stone Unturned documentary examined the persistent claims of state collusion in the murders and broke new ground by publicly naming those it said were suspects.

Police said the confidential material under investigation had been in the possession of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.

A police spokesman has claimed the theft of the documents "potentially puts lives at risk".

The statement from The Detail said: "Today it is business as usual at The Detail, Below The Radar and Fine Point Films.

"As always, we will continue to leave no stone unturned in our public interest journalism. Our team is here to investigate and produce stories that matter.

"We want to say a huge thank you for the overwhelming support received since Friday."

Poni officers reported the alleged theft to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

The PSNI then asked Durham Police to conduct an independent investigation into the claims.

A High Court challenge by the film company behind the documentary had prevented the police from examining the evidence seized until the matter was aired at a full court hearing.

It is understood the custody interviews involved officers from both the PSNI and Durham Police.

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