IL DISGUSTO DELLE FAMIGLIE DELLE VITTIME DEL LOUGHINISLAND MASSACRE: “È L’ENNESIMA LITANIA DI BUGIE.”
di Elena Chiorino
“Quando ci rivolgemmo al Police Ombudsman, lo ritenemmo un soffio d’aria fresca – una luce, un nuovo inizio. Credevamo di essere vicini alla verità, credevamo che sarebbe finalmente stata rivelata. Ora ci chiediamo quanto forte dobbiamo ancora gridare perché la gente ascolti, e si chieda con attenzione che cosa successe davvero, e che cosa sia stato tenuto nascosto.” Queste le amare parole di Claire Rogan, a cui l’UVF ha strappato il marito, ai microfoni di UTV. “Non ci hanno rifilato altro che l’ennesima litania di bugie.”
Le fa eco Aideen O’Toole, figlio del proprietario del pub e sopravvissuto alla strage nonostante un proiettile l’avesse raggiunto: “Non posso credere alle scoperte contenute nel rapporto. Per quattro anni siamo rimasti seduti ad ascoltare la polizia – ci siamo fidati di loro, rappresentavano la legge e l’ordine, credevamo davvero che stessero facendo qualcosa. “Li prenderemo” mi dissero quando mi hanno sparato, “c’è una traccia di sudore di uno di loro sui tuoi vestiti, li prenderemo.” Analizzarono i miei vestiti, ma non li presero mai. È così frustrante, semplicemente.”
Mentre l’Assistant Chief Constable della PSNI fa sapere di essere “amaramente dispiaciuto” che i colpevoli non siano mai stati arrestati, la leader del SDLP Margaret Ritchie invita con rabbia l’Ombudsman alle dimissioni: “L’esatta definizione di collusione è quella del Giudice Corry, che include la commissione e l’omissione. In questo caso, il RUC si macchiò di omissione. Sembra che Al Hutchinson ritenga l’incapacità del RUC di cooperare, la sistematica distruzione di prove – come l’auto dei terroristi – e addirittura il fallimento nel trovare i risultati delle perizie medico-scientifiche segnali di “incompetenza”; per me e per le famiglie questa si chiama collusione.”
Hutchinson, però, afferma di non avere alcuna intenzione di dimettersi, sebbene “capisca la rabbia di familiari delle vittime.”
“In alcuni casi, la polizia non si curò nemmeno di prendere le impronte digitali o di esaminare il DNA,” rincara la dose O’Toole: “Non sono stati in grado di identificare uno degli assassini sebbene avesse lasciato un suo capello sulla scena del crimine.”
“Quante volte continueremo a sentirci raccontare la stessa storia?” A quanto pare, la domanda di Patrick McCreanor, nipote di una delle vittime, rimarrà senza risposta.
The families of six men gunned down by loyalist paramilitaries in the 1994 Loughinisland massacre say they’re disgusted with the Police Ombudsman’s investigation.
“How loud do you have to shout for people to listen or pay attention to what really happened and was covered up?” Claire Rogan, whose husband was murdered in the UVF gun attack, told UTV.
Relatives of those killed and injured have long claimed there was RUC collusion, but Al Hutchinson’s report – made public on Friday, after a five-year wait – said there was insufficient evidence to prove that.
“When we took our complaints to the Ombudsman, we saw that as a breath of fresh air – it was a light, a new beginning,” Mrs Rogan said. “We thought we were going to get to the truth.”
“It makes you very suspicious of everybody, you wonder who you can trust. Why were six innocent people allowed to die and nobody did anything about it?”
The report did find that the RUC failed the families of those who died in the Heights bar in the Co Down village, which was sprayed with 200 bullets as supporters watched a World Cup match between the Republic of Ireland and Italy.
According to the document, the killers’ getaway car was destroyed, opportunities were missed, and records lost.
Aideen O’Toole, whose father owned the bar and who was shot in the attack, told UTV he just cannot believe the report’s findings.
“For years, we sat back and listened to the police,” Mr O’Toole said. “We always thought they were doing something. We trusted them – they were the law and order.
“They told me when I was shot: ‘We will get them’, and took my clothes to be forensically tested. They told me if there was a bead of sweat from one of these boys, we will get them.”
He added: “It’s just so frustrating.”
A solicitor representing the victims’ families also hit out at the report’s findings.
“The families consider that Al Hutchinson has performed factual gymnastics to avoid a conclusion,” Niall Murphy told UTV.
“The families fear it is a case of see no evil, hear no evil and report no evil by Mr Hutchinson.”
A call has been made for Al Hutchinson to resign from his post as Police Ombudsman, following the publication of his report.
SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie has said she believes the investigation “comes up short” and is also disputing the Ombudsman’s findings on the issue of collusion.
“The definition of collusion is that of Judge Corry – it involves the area of commission or omission and, in this case, there has been omission by the then RUC,” she said.
“He seems to think that the failure of the RUC investigators to co-operate, the systematic destruction of evidence such as the car, the systematic failure to follow leads and even the failure to carry out forensics was incompetence – to me and to the families that mounts to collusion.”
But Al Hutchinson has told UTV that, while he understands the anger of the victims’ families, he has no intention of stepping down.
Despite several arrests, no convictions have ever been made over the murders of the six victims – Adrian Rogan, 34; Malcolm Jenkinson, 53; Barney Green, 87; Daniel McCreanor, 59; Patrick O’Hare, 35; and Eamon Byrne, 39.
Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris said the PSNI is “bitterly sorry” that the Loughinisland killers have not been brought to justice.
The families of six men murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1994 have said they are “shocked” at a police ombudsman’s report into the killings.
Emma Rogan’s father Adrian was one of those shot by the UVF at the Heights Bar, Loughinisland.
“For 11 years after the murder of our loved ones, police did not even have the focus and strategy to keep us informed, ” she said.
The families’ solicitor described the report as “timid, mild and meek”.
Niall Murphy said the families believed the report proved police colluded with those involved and that the RUC made “no real attempt to catch the killers”.
The ombudsman’s report found that there were failings in the investigation. However there was insufficient evidence of collusion.
The six men who died were Adrian Rogan 34; Malcolm Jenkinson, 53; Barney Greene, 87; Daniel McCreanor 59; Patrick O’Hare, 35, and Eamon Byrne, 39.
They were all Catholics. Mr Greene was one of the oldest people to be killed in the Northern Ireland Troubles.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Aidan O’Toole who was a barman on the night of the murders said the report raised “serious inconsistencies”.
“In some cases, police did not even bother to take fingerprints or DNA,” he said.
“The RUC and the PSNI could not even identify one of the killers even though he left a hair behind.”
Patrick McCreanor, a nephew of Dan McCreanor said: “How long will we keep on hearing the same old story. How many times can evidence go missing from police custody?”
Maura Casement, a niece of Barney Greene said that the ombudsman refused to investigate a link between British Army agent Brian Nelson and the murder weapon.
The press conference was told that the ombudsman’s report made no mention of RUC special branch – the undercover anti-terrorist unit within the police force.
The report published on Friday said police failed the families of the six people murdered by loyalists in 1994 by not investigating the killings properly.
Ombudsman Al Hutchinson said there was no evidence of collusion between police and the UVF gang in two specific areas of his investigation.
But there was insufficient evidence of collusion surrounding the getaway car used in the Loughinisland murders.
He said the police investigation lacked diligence, focus and leadership. He would not say whether informers had a role in the killings.
Police have apologised for a lack of communication and inconsistency over the killings.
Sixteen people have been arrested in connection with the attack but no-one has ever been convicted.
The relatives of the victims believe the police’s investigation was impeded by its desire to protect its informers within the ranks of the UVF.
They made a formal complaint to the office of the Police Ombudsman in 2006.
Mr Hutchinson, who met the families prior to the publication of his report on Friday, said that is still their contention.
‘Sadness and frustration’
He has made three recommendations which he said were designed to reinvigorate the police investigation.
A PSNI spokesperson said it accepted the recommendations made by the ombudsman and was fully committed to apprehending those responsible for the attack.
“There is a great sadness and frustration for all of us in policing that those responsible for this horrific crime have never been brought to justice,” he said.
“An ongoing Serious Crime Review will seek to re-establish direct lines of communication with the families.”
- The C-Word Is… Collusion (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- NI Police Ombudsman: “we have no evidence of a deliberate action…” (sluggerotoole.com)
- Loughinisland Report A Farce Which Fails to Examine Role of Special Branch Informers (politics.ie)
- We Think It’s Now Time Al Hutchinson for You to Resign ” Colllusion Is Not an Illusion” (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)