Villiers speech lacked compassion for victims of loyalism

The scene of the 1994 Loughinisland loyalist massacre
The scene of the 1994 Loughinisland loyalist massacre

The secretary of state for Northern Ireland’s comments regarding the Loughinisland atrocity are offensive, but also suggests she may be trying to obfuscate the inquiry being held by the independent Police Ombudsman who is due to report later this year.

As a result, the secretary of state has caused offence to many victims and in particular the families of the six Loughinisland men who lost their lives in such tragic circumstances.

Margaret Ritchie joins mourners in paying respect to the victims of the Loughinisland massacre on the 20 year anniversary.

Margaret Ritchie joins mourners in paying respect to the victims of the Loughinisland massacre on the 20 year anniversary.

Ms Villiers’ speech is an attempt to draw a line on the past – which utterly fails to assuage the fears of many families to achieve truth and justice for what happened to their loved ones in many barbarous killings during the Troubles.

In her statement on the past, Ms Villiers displays a lack of compassion to the victims of the Loughinisland massacre who have been relentless in their justified pursuit of truth and justice.

The secretary of state’s statement raises a range of questions which demand answers.

Was she trying to sabotage existing inquiries to prevent the truth from being released? Was the secretary of state’s real intention to provide the British government’s narrative in advance of the completion of the independent Police Ombudsman’s report?

I have written to the secretary of state for an explanation regarding her comments and for a meeting to discuss this issue. One important fact is the incomplete nature of the original RUC police investigation and the fact that nearly 22 years later nobody has been held accountable or brought to justice for this tragedy. What does the secretary of state have to say about that the nature of that investigation and the role of the RUC in it?

What apologies does she provide for the victims?

I hope that the secretary of state can provide answers to these questions. I will also be writing to the prime minister and the Taoiseach and urging them to take action for the safety of the independent inquiry process into the Loughinisland atrocity.

Margaret Ritchie MP, SDLP South Down