RUC colluded with UVF to massacre six men in pub - report
Families of six men murdered by loyalist gunmen in a pub in the North have hailed a watchdog investigation that exposed significant police collusion with the killers for finally delivering "the truth".
The North's Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire was damning in his assessment of the police role in the 1994 Ulster Volunteer Force massacre in Loughinisland, Co Down.
Two UVF gunmen burst into the packed bar at around 10.10pm on June 18, 1994 and fired at customers watching the Republic of Ireland play Italy in the World Cup in the USA. Six people were killed and five injured.
Dr Maguire found that one man suspected of carrying out the mass killing in the Heights Bar was a police informant.
The ombudsman also said the murder squad had been involved in a number of other killings in the years beforehand, but had avoided arrest because the Royal Ulster Constabulary's Special Branch intelligence unit had withheld evidence from RUC detectives investigating the crimes.
He said some Special Branch officers had a "hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" mindset that placed the collection of information above the detection of crime.
Emma Rogan, whose father Adrian was killed, said: "Today we finally have a report by the Police Ombudsman that at last vindicates our long-held suspicions and belief that the truth about these murders was being covered up by the very people - the police - who were supposed to be protecting us, be on our side and investigate and bring to justice those responsible."
Paddy McCreanor, nephew of victim Daniel McCreanor, said: "Collusion is no illusion and collusion happened. The truth has come out and that's all we ever wanted."
The families' lawyer Niall Murphy said the scale of the collusion was "terrifying". "This report is one of the most damning expositions of state collusion in mass murder that has ever been published," he said
While the report was revealed in Belfast, former UK prime minister John Major was elsewhere in the North delivering a pro-European Union speech.
Mr Murphy called on Mr Major to apologise for the collusion that took place when he was in office.
The families also called on the North's Secretary of State Theresa Villiers to say sorry for referencing Loughinisland in a speech earlier this year about what she claimed was a "pernicious counter-narrative" of the Troubles that was trying to place undue blame on the security forces. "We call on her to retract and apologise to us today," said Ms Rogan.
In his report's conclusion, Dr Maguire said he had "no hesitation in saying collusion was a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders".