Serious questions over Loughinisland ‘film’ as unionism strikes back in legacy battle

Serious questions over Loughinisland ‘film’ as unionism strikes back in legacy battle


(Pictured published in Sinn Fein magazine, An Phoblacht)

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Today’s High Court judgement has made clear that the Police Ombudsman report relating to killings at Loughinisland in 1994 was “unsustainable in law“. Mr Justice McCloskey also branded the report “careless, thoughtless and inattentive in the language and structuring of the document“.

Given the scathing judgement, there are now serious questions around the recent ‘film’, which sought to effectively run a trial by media in relation to the events in Loughinisland in 1994. The documentary named a number of people who have never been tried or convicted and much of the film was based upon an unredacted version of the Police Ombudsman report, which it was leaked by a republican activist operating within the Ombudsman’s office.

During screenings of the film the Police Ombudsman himself, along with legal representatives who have aligned themselves with Sinn Fein and prominent republicans, shamelessly perpetuated the collusion myth designed to undermine the legitimacy of the state and re-write the past.

This website called a number of months ago for former members of the security forces and loyalists to enter the fray and begin to counter-litigate the past, in order to re-dress the balance. The successful outcome achieved by former ACC Raymond White and others today demonstrates the merits of such a strategy.

Republicans have developed a well tuned strategy of litigating the past as part of their wider political agenda to legitimise IRA terrorism and de-legitimise the state. They have been supported in this pan-nationalist strategy by prominent members of the legal profession who recently aligned themselves with the Sinn Fein ‘Leo letter’, which made a number of political demands under the guise of ‘rights’ and ‘equality’.

A number of the signatories to the sectarian ‘Leo Letter’, including Niall Murphy and Barry McCaffrey, were intimately involved in the making of the ‘No Stone Unturned’ film, which was based on the now discredited Police Ombudsman’s report.

Following today’s judgement Sinn Fein MLA Emma Rogan stated that she had “lost faith in the judiciary”. It is not clear whether this is Sinn Fein’s position, or merely that of Ms Rogan personally.

There have also been suggestions that today’s judgement may be appealed, which would be rather surprising given the furious reaction from Relatives for Justice and other republican campaign groups when the Chief Constable announced he was to appeal the Glenanne ruling, only last week. Surely in the battlefield of litigating the past- which republicans have created- the same rules of procedural fairness must apply to all?

There are now very serious questions for all those that used this Police Ombudsman’s report for their own political purposes, and indeed to make a ‘film’. When the allegations, which the court has dismissed, are used as the key basis for a screen production and the author of the allegations- namely Mr Maguire- is sitting in the front row perpetuating the myth.

Many journalists also repeated the allegations within the Police Ombudsman report, and the ‘film’ based upon it. This led to the absurd situation whereby the Police Ombudsman and the media were acting as judge, jury and executioner. Today puts an end to that practice and all those engaged in perpetuating particular legacy narratives should reflect upon whether they are being used as proxies by Sinn Fein.

Link: Why unionism should start litigating the past

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