Kennedy slams decision on Loughgall inquests

The scene following the IRA attack on Loughgall RUC station, Co Armagh, in 1987, which resulted in the deaths of eight IRA men
The scene following the IRA attack on Loughgall RUC station, Co Armagh, in 1987, which resulted in the deaths of eight IRA men
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A decision to hold new inquests into the deaths of eight IRA men and a civilian shot dead by the SAS in 1987 has been criticised by Danny Kennedy.

The Newry and Armagh MLA said the “lethal intent” of the heavily armed men was met with justifiable force and that no further attempts to “rewrite history” should be facilitated.

Soldiers from the elite SAS regiment intercepted the IRA unit as they launched a bomb attack on Loughgall RUC station in Co Armagh.

Civilian Anthony Hughes, 36, was killed after being caught up in the gunfire.

The Government had asked the Advocate General for Northern Ireland Jeremy Wright QC to take the decision on whether new probes should be undertaken into the controversial incident.

Mr Wright, who is a law officer independent of Government, said: “The new inquests will establish who has died, and how, when and where the death occurred. The Coroners Service for Northern Ireland will now take this forward.”

Mr Kennedy said; “This is another attempt to re-write history and to re-shape some of the key events of the Troubles. They went out with lethal intent and they were met, quite rightly, with force. My view is that they have no grounds whatsoever for complaint.”

Mr Kennedy added: “If it was a war they were prosecuting against the British, then to be met with force doesn’t seem to be either unfair or unreasonable”.

The Loughgall case was referred to the UK Government’s Advocate General, rather than Northern Ireland Attorney General, as it was deemed to touch on issues of national security – matters which are not devolved to Stormont.