PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has said the Police Ombudsman’s report into the Loughinisland murders “makes uncomfortable reading particularly in relation to the alleged actions of police officers at the time”.
He said he accepts the Police Ombudsman’s “report and findings into the brutal attack carried out at the Heights Bar, Loughinisland, on 18 June, 1994”.
“In 2011, we accepted the findings of the previous PONI report into the murders and conducted a further review of the case as a result,” he said.
“We apologised to the families at that time and I offer my sincere apologies to them once again today, for both the investigative failings and that collusion was a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders.”
The Chief Constable added: “The Ombudsman has stated that collusion was a feature of these murders in that there were both wilful and passive acts carried out by police officers.
“This is totally unacceptable and those responsible should be held accountable. I want to reassure the families and the public that I have co-operated fully with the Ombudsman and I will continue to do so if he determines to take this further.
“It would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment in detail, pending the outcome of any potential further criminal investigation by the Ombudsman on this matter.
“These were appalling murders carried out by those with evil intent and I am very aware of the hurt and anger felt by the families of those killed and those injured. The PSNI remains firmly committed to apprehending those responsible for these murders and appeal to the community for information to allow us to do so.”