On June 18, 1994, six men were brutally murdered as they sat having a drink in their local pub. They were watching Ireland play Italy in the soccer World Cup in the Heights Bar, Loughinisland – a small village in County Down, Northern Ireland.
Two members of the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), wearing boiler suits and balaclavas, entered the bar and opened fire indiscriminately with automatic weapons.
Six innocent civilians were killed in the massacre. Five others were injured.
No-one has ever been charged in connection with the murders and the families maintained a dignified silence for more than a decade, fearing that to speak out publicly might jeopardise the police investigation. Clare Rogan, whose husband Adrian was killed in the attack, was assured by senior Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers at the wake of her husband that they would leave ‘no stone unturned’ in the hunt for his killers.
In 2017, a powerful and award–winning documentary film by Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney was released. ‘No Stone Unturned’, produced by Trevor Birney and painstakingly researched by journalist Barry McCaffrey, investigates the killings and unveils a litany of corruption involving the police, loyalist paramilitaries and British army.
Unlike the Police Ombudsman’s report into the killings, the film reveals the identities of the main suspects in the murders. Despite the getaway car being found yards away from the main suspect’s family home within hours of the attack, that house was never searched. Despite being the primary suspect in the attack, the leader of the killer gang was not arrested until two months after the massacre. This despite the fact that he was named as the main suspect within 12 hours of the killing. He and other members of the gang were all members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), a regiment of the British army.
The evidence uncovered in the film reveals that there was at least one police informer within the murder gang and that police had known within hours who the main suspects were. The film reveals how the main suspect’s wife had twice contacted police to identify her husband as the ring leader of the gang. The documentary also includes an interview with one of the detectives involved in the murder investigation who claims that police had prior knowledge of the Loughinisland attack and that while questioning the main suspect, a police officer had actively encouraged him to murder a named republican living in south County Down. The film asks serious questions about why still, almost twenty-five years on, no one has been charged in relation to the Loughinisland massacre.