Loughinisland: Where is report on SF/IRA collusion, says Allister

Jim Allister said people suspected 'a malign agenda' on investigations into the past
Jim Allister said people suspected 'a malign agenda' on investigations into the past

TUV leader Jim Allister said that although we now have the second report on Loughinisland collusion we are still waiting for the first report on republican collusion.

A police ombudsman’s report found that there was collusion between some police officers and loyalist killers who murdered six men in a Co Down bar in 1994.

Mr Allister MLA said: “While we have now got Loughinisland Mark 2, we are still waiting for Sinn Fein/IRA collusion Mark 1. It is such one-way traffic on investigating the past which leaves many identifying a malign agenda.”

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said no blind eye should be turned to wrongdoing “regardless of who has been involved in those actions”.

However, the ombudsman also recognises informants are an integral part of policing and saved many lives during the Troubles, he added.

Republican and loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for over 3,000 deaths – nearly 10 times that of the security forces, he said. Collusion should be identified where it happened, “but not be allowed to rewrite the past”.

UUP MP Tom Elliott MP said: “This was a terrible crime and similar in context to the many other atrocities that were taking place at that time.

“Terrorists were responsible for 90 per cent of the killings and that should never be forgotten. I know many brave men and women who are now lying in graveyards because they had the courage to put on a uniform to defend their communities and prevent this society collapsing into civil war.”

If any members of the security services were involved in criminality, they should be prosecuted, he added.

Susan Phoenix, widow of anti-terrorist RUC Detective Supt Ian Phoenix (killed in the 1994 Chinook crash) said Special Branch always put protection of life and limb first, while treading a fine line of protection of sources who were often motivated by a variety of reasons.

The author found claims that loyalists were bring protected “ironic” saying Special Branch had the same amount of information on Martin McGuinness as Johnny Adair – yet only Adair was “picked up” and charged with directing terrorism.

Twenty-twenty hindsight is common among the many “armchair experts” she has met, she added.