Northern Ireland news

Loyalist gun attack victims launch legal action against the Police Ombudsman

Peter McCormack was shot dead at Thierafurth Inn in Killcoo, Co Down, in 1992
Connla Young

VICTIMS of a loyalist gun attack have launched legal action against the Police Ombudsman and Department of Justice over allegations of failures to investigate the case.

Peter McCormack (42) was shot dead during the UVF attack at the Theirafurth Inn in Kilcoo, Co Down, in November 1992. Several others were injured.

The recent legal action has been taken on behalf of some of those who survived.

The gun attack was later linked to the 1994 Loughinisland Massacre, which claimed the lives of six men as they watched a World Cup match in the Heights Bar.

In 2016 a complaint was made to the Police Ombudsman by a survivor of the attack and solicitors say at the time this was accepted by the watchdog.

They also say the ombudsman’s office indicated it would begin an investigation.

Survivors now claim the continuing failure to start the investigation by the ombudsman is in breach of its statutory duty and legal obligations.

They also highlight “the ongoing failure of the Department of Justice” to provide sufficient funding to the ombudsman to “permit it to carry out an investigation into the attack”.

Solicitor Gavin Booth, of Phoenix Law, said “the ongoing failure of the Department of Justice to put in place adequate resources to enable the ombudsman to carry out an investigation into the applicants complaint in a timely fashion is irrational.

“This is because it is irrational to have a statutory scheme requiring the ombudsman to investigate complaints ‘without undue delay’ while failing to provide the ombudsman with the resources it need to investigate such complaints,” he said.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman said: “We can confirm that judicial review proceedings have been initiated.

“We will provide the court with whatever information it requires in advance of the leave hearing.”

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”

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