Northern Ireland news

Call for Loughgall inquest into dealths of 8 IRA men and civilian

The eight IRA men shot dead by the SAS at Loughgall in 1987. From top-left: Patrick McKearney, Tony Gormley, Jim Lynagh, Paddy Kelly; from bottom left: Declan Arthurs, Gerard O'Callaghan, Seamus Donnelly, Eugene Kelly
Connla Young

RELATIVES of eight IRA men and a civilian shot dead by the British army more than 30 years ago have urged a coroner to start their inquest.

The Loughgall Truth and Justice Campaign made the call ahead of a preliminary inquest hearting in Belfast today.

The nine men were shot dead during an SAS ambush at Loughgall in Co Armagh on May 8, 1987.

The IRA unit had been preparing to carry out an attack on the village RUC station when the SAS launched its ambush.

Civilian Anthony Hughes, who was travelling through the village in a car with his brother, was also shot dead by British troops.

The hearing is part of a series of reviews being held by High Court judge and presiding coroner Mrs Justice Keegan over the next three weeks.

The Department of Justice plans to release £55 million over six years to deal with 52 legacy inquests involving 93 deaths.

Some of those are currently at hearing or findings are being awaited.

The current hearings are expected to focus on 44 inquests which include 70 deaths.

Mairead Kelly, whose brother Paddy Kelly was one of the IRA men killed, said “the relatives of the nine men killed at Loughgall believe that the state can no longer put obstacles up and play delaying tactics with this case”.

“We call on Judge Keegan to rule that the inquest is now ready to commence immediately and we look forward to a fresh Inquest into the deaths of our relatives at Loughgall,” she said.

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