Sunday Life

Why no convictions?
22 February 2004

RELATIVES of six Catholics murdered in a UVF atrocity have been urged to call in the Police Ombudsman - to investigate why no-one has ever been prosecuted.

The 10th anniversary of the Loughinisland massacre falls later this year.

UVF gunmen walked into the Heights Bar, in the Co Down village, and opened fire as customers watched a World Cup match on TV.

Local people point out that Loughinisland was the only major atrocity of the late Troubles where no-one was prosecuted or convicted.

The SDLP has revealed it is considering enlisting Nuala O'Loan's help.

And now, Raymond McCord, whose son was killed by the UVF, has sent a message to politicians and villagers that the Ombudsman may be the only way they are going to get answers.

"I would support them 100pc in going to the Ombudsman. They will get more action from Mrs O'Loan's office than they will ever get from the police," said Mr McCord.

The Ombudsman's office is currently compiling a report on Mr McCord's allegations that UVF killings, in north Belfast, were allowed to proceed to protect police agents within the loyalist terror group.

The suspicion has been that the Heights Bar killings were sanctioned by the Belfast command of the UVF, as a reprisal for the INLA murder of two UVF members on the Shankill Road, two days earlier.

There is growing concern that a number of leads, which could have trapped the killer gang, did not produce results for the police.

Relatives had pinned their hopes on the strongest of these, namely the DNA testing of fibres on the guns and balaclavas recovered within days of the killings.

Mr McCord said: "The UVF was penetrated at the highest levels of the leadership. I would encourage people to ask Mrs O'Loan to look at these murder files, and I personally would help them in any way I could."

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