Barney Green, at 87, became the oldest victim of the Northern Ireland Troubles when he was shot dead in Loughinisland in 1994. Photograph: Pacemaker Press
Relatives of those who died in atrocity seek to overturn finding that there was no evidence of collusion between police and UVF
Families of victims gunned down in a bar by loyalists while watching Ireland beat Italy in the 1994 World Cup have started legal action to overturn a police ombudsman report into the massacre.
The relatives of those shot dead in the Loughinisland atrocity are challenging the report’s conclusions that there was no evidence of collusion between the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gang responsible and the police.
Lawyers and families of the dead believe the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) investigation was compromised because a number of those directly involved in the shooting were police informers. However, before being able to challenge the report, they are contesting a decision to refuse legal aid.
A judge has granted permission to seek a judicial review of the funding denial, after no opposition was raised at this stage. A full hearing on that preliminary issue will take place in June and the challenge to the ombudsman’s report is expected to follow this summer.
Six Catholic men were shot dead when the UVF sprayed the Heights bar in Loughinisland, County Down, with gunfire on 18 June 1994 – the night the Republic of Ireland played Italy in New York.
Among those who died in the attack was Barney Green, who at 87 was the oldest victim of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Five other men were seriously wounded.
No one has been convicted of the murders, although 16 people have been arrested in connection with the attack.
In June last year, the outgoing police ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Al Hutchinson, found there was not enough evidence of collusion between police and the loyalist gang, although he did identify failings in the investigation, criticising it for a lack of diligence, focus and leadership.
The legal challenge into his report will focus on a Criminal Justice Inspectorate review of Troubles-related investigations
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