Northern Ireland

Loyalist paramilitaries victims’ families settle cases against MoD and PSNI

John Toland and James Loughrey were shot in separate incidents in the villages of Eglinton and nearby Greysteel, County Derry, in 1976.

Marie Newton (John Toland’s widow - in purple) and  Mary Loughrey (Jim Loughrey’s widow - in checked coat) at Belfast High Court on Monday,  as Two families whose loved ones Jim Loughrey and John Toland were killed by the UDA are to receive significant settlements from the MoD and police.
PICTURE COLM LENAGHAN
Jim Loughrey and John Toland hearing Marie Newton (John Toland’s widow - in purple) and Mary Loughrey (Jim Loughrey’s widow - in checked coat) at Belfast High Court on Monday, as Two families whose loved ones Jim Loughrey and John Toland were killed by the UDA are to receive significant settlements from the MoD and police. PICTURE COLM LENAGHAN

The families of two men killed by loyalist paramilitaries almost half a century ago are to receive financial settlements from the PSNI and MoD.

John Toland and James Loughrey were shot in separate incidents in the villages of Eglinton and nearby Greysteel, County Derry, in 1976.



Their families have claimed there was security force collusion in the killings and sued the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and PSNI.

Today, the MoD and PSNI settled the cases with no admission of liability.

While the amount of the financial settlements have not been disclosed, a solicitor for the families described it as “significant”.

John Toland
John Toland (Sara)

Members of both families were at Belfast High Court today, including the two widows, Mary Loughrey and Marie Newton.

A barrister for the Toland and Loughrey families told Mr Justice Humphreys that both actions had been settled.

Mr Justice Humphreys said: “I observe the presence of families in court and I congratulate you on reaching a settlement.”

He said such cases were always difficult and emotional.

The judge added: “For both sides it represents an achievement to be noted, you have brought finality to a lengthy and difficult process.”

Jim Loughrey
Jim Loughrey

Speaking outside court, Padraig Ó Muirigh, solicitor for the two families, said: “As a result of negotiations over the last number of weeks, these legal actions have now been settled.

“The confidential nature of the settlement prevents me from disclosing the settlement figure, I can confirm though that the figure is significant.

“It is crucial that cases of this nature are allowed to progress through the inquest and civil proceedings unhindered by the NI Troubles, Legacy and Reconciliation Act.

“Unfortunately many families will be deprived of the opportunity to pursue their own legal actions by the draconian legislation.”

James Loughrey’s son, John, said it was a momentous day for the families.

He said: “We have waited 47 years for this day.

“My mother Mary was left on her own with eight children and she was left in that situation by a cruel act where her husband was taken from her.

“There were many questions around the actions of that evening when my father was taken, questions around collusion and injustice.

“Today, it is fair to say brings a degree of satisfaction and vindication after all these years to see some level of reparation for the harm that was caused.”

John Toland’s son Danny said: “My father was 36 when he lost his life.

“Not only did they take his life but they also tried to take his reputation by making out lies and accusations that were not true.

“We are delighted with the outcome.”

John Toland was working as a barman in the Happy Landing pub in Eglinton when he was shot by the UDA in November 1976.

James Loughrey was shot dead nearby Greysteel later the the same month by the UDA.