In the Media

Northern Ireland loyalist gangs 'armed by UK government'

PUBLISHED October 16, 2012

The Ministry of Defence and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are being sued by relatives of six men murdered by a loyalist gunman who opened fire inside a bar crowded in Loughinisland, County Down, in June 1994.

While the families are claiming compensation, they told the Guardian their aim is to uncover the truth about the killings.

The newspaper claimed authorities allegedly assisted, or allowed, as many as 300 automatic rifles and pistols, hundreds of grenades and 30,000 rounds of ammunition to be smuggled into Belfast in 1987.

One of the rifles, a Czech-made VZ-58 assault rifle, was used in the attack in the village, it was claimed.

The families of the dead men are also bringing civil proceedings against the PSNI after the police ombudsman in Belfast examined the initial investigation.

A report was then produced, which was widely criticised for refusing to acknowledge whether police informers were involved in the massacre, the paper reported.

Niall Murphy, a lawyer for the families, told the newspaper: "We are confident that evidence of British involvement does exist, and we look forward to applying to the high court for its disclosure.

"The experience of these six families demonstrates that the current mechanisms for truth recovery do not work."

An MoD spokesman confirmed a claim had been made but declined to comment further. A spokeswoman for the PSNI added: "We would be unable to comment as this is an ongoing legal case."