THE report published yesterday into the Loughinisland massacre, in which six Catholic men were murdered by UVF gunmen in a bar as they watched Ireland play Italy in the 1994 World Cup, vindicates the victims’ relatives determination to prove there was official collusion with the killers and that an earlier report was inaccurate.
It also obliges Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers to apologise and withdraw remarks she made saying there were “pernicious narratives” being written about atrocities committed during the Troubles. Indeed, there were, but those “pernicious narratives” were often the first official responses to terrorism-related tragedies. The Whitelaw report on Bloody Sunday may have been the high-water mark of official Britain’s fiction as propaganda in the North but every act of collusion, every false conviction, exacerbated division and made the establishment of normal relations unlikely. The Loughinisland families have long argued that “one of those suspected of killing our loved ones continued to work for the RUC Special Branch long after the atrocity”.
That is indeed an appalling vista on a par with any of the atrocities committed over those bloody three decades. It may seem a feeble response but it may be the best way to honour those who died at the hands of “official” murderers to work to ensure that security agencies now represent and protect all elements of society, not just the most powerful.
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