Loughinisland ~ A Criminal Conspiracy To Cover Up

Martin Galvin (MG) interviews civil rights attorney Niall Murphy (NM) via telephone from Belfast about the release of the Police Ombudsman report on the 1994 Loughinisland massacre. Thanks to TPQ transcriber.

Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
11 June 2016
(begins time stamp ~ 33:41)

MG: This week, in fact it'll be going back to 1994, on June 18th, 1994, there was a very major and damning event: a number of people had gathered just to watch what we would call a soccer match – what they would call a football match - and at that time a number of Loyalists, pro-British Loyalists, came into a pub, opened fire, killed six people, the oldest was eighty-seven and they got away with it. And Nationalists knew – it had what we used to call all the hallmarks of collusion – they would be allowed to get there, get away, evidence would be destroyed or not followed-up, there'd be no arrest, they would have had pinpoint information – and we would view that as something that showed that there was collusion between the British state and between the killers and all of that was always denied. And people like Theresa Villiers, the British Secretary of State, said piously that nothing like that would ever happen and it was all a 'pernicious counter-narrative'.

Well this week there was a very important Ombudsman investigation. A report was announced about Loughinisland and it said that there was indeed what we had always known - collusion, that there was indeed a major role between British forces and those who carried out that assassination and between letting them get away with that. And the person who was at the centre of exposing all of that, the civil rights lawyer from Belfast Niall Muprhy, is on the phone, Niall we want to congratulate you and ask you exactly what you feel was the importance of that ruling that came out on Thursday.

NM: Thank you Martin. Thank you for the opportunity to speak on your radio programme. This is certainly one of the most important official reports that has ever come out and certainly that has been published in recent years. This is the first occasion that such an explicit finding of collusion has been made and what is particularly relevant is the fact that this case had already been examined by the previous incumbent of the Police Ombudsman, Al Hutchinson, a Canadian mounted police officer who had held the post previously.

In June, 2011, Al Hutchinson published a report on Loughinisland which in fact characterised the police investigation as a series of serious mistakes whereas the real truth and the difficult truth, which was published on Thursday of this week, was that it wasn't a series of mistakes but rather it was a conspiracy of criminality to ensure that the truth about Loughinisland did not come out. Some of the facts which were published on Thursday are terrifying. I would just like to read out some of the specific paragraphs and I would encourage your listeners, if at all possible, to download the report. It's one hundred and sixty pages – forty-four thousand words. It is a difficult read. It will take a bit of time to read but some of the facts which emerged are astounding.

Paragraph 7.155 informs us that suspects were notified by police officers that they were liable to be arrested the following day. So on 21st of August the murder gang were in effect told they were about to be arrested tomorrow morning. The case outlines a disgusting history of collusion in a specific area, in the South Down area. It starts with the murder of Jack Kielty in 1988. Jack Kielty's son would go on to become an international comedian of high renown. Patrick Kielty is married to Cat Deely, another person of fame in this jurisdiction.

And the police investigation into the murder of Jack Kielty was such that a police officer who is described in the report as 'Police Officer 3'.  I refer to him as 'a good apple in a rotten orchard' because Police Officer 3 advised Police Ombudsman investigators that he could not talk about his intentions to investigate the murder of Jack Kielty in the police station because that would corrupt his intentions. So a police officer did not feel safe talking about strategic investigation matters in a police station. That for me summarises how ingrained Loyalist sympathies were in RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) stations. And the report...

MG: ...Now let me just follow-up on that: In the report it says, first of all, that weapons were allowed to be brought in, that they were brought in in part by agent directed by and reported to members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and there was also connection to the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) at the time. That these weapons were allowed to be brought it – they were allowed to be used. At one point somebody who housed these weapons was directed to move them because they might be discovered. This assassination bid and many others - these weapons were used to kill quite a number of innocent Nationalists which again, there was no effort made to jark the weapons - take anything, do anything to them which would allow you to see who the weapons were going to – to stop the weapons from going in. And then after the murder there were a number of things which would have allowed you to find out who did the killing; weapons were found, the getaway car was found, balaclavas were found – and these all were destroyed. Now, my question to you is: How could all of these many things happen without there being some kind of wide scale, concerted effort within the Royal Ulster Constabulary to do all of these things?

NM: Well, you've touched upon some serious issues of an overarching nature. If I could deal with them just individually. The South African arms importation: the importance of this report is important to the families of Loughinisland with regards to the specific details it outlines in relation to investigative failings into that specific atrocity. But it is also important for society as a whole and anybody with an interest in Irish affairs insofar as it outlines in some great detail, some forty pages, as to the prior knowledge of the British state of this arms importation.

In effect what happened with the arms importation was, as follows: The UDA (Ulster Defence Association) was controlled by the British Army through its head of intelligence, a man called Brian Nelson. Brian Nelson was a high level military agent controlled by the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence orchestrated and directed the UDA, an unlawful paramilitary organisation, through Brian Nelson. Brian Nelson traveled to South Africa in 1985 to negotiate the terms of an arms consignment. At that time South Africa was an apartheid state and was subject to an international arms embargo ordered by the United Nations. The South African arms company, the official state company, called Armscorp, let it be known to Brian Nelson that they required hardware – up-to-date, cutting edge, military technology - which they knew was being developed at Shorts(Short Brothers LTD) in East Belfast. In effect what they required were surface-to-air missiles. And the cutting edge technology at that time was a Starstreak missile system which was being developed by Shorts in East Belfast. The conspiracy would then flow, as follows: Brian Nelson returned, the consignment would be exchanged and discharged of a monetary sum, some one hundred thousand pounds, and also the blueprint plans for the Starstreak missile system.

The money could not be raised – the UDA at that time was highly self-interested with criminal enterprises, such as racketeering. And the arms importation could not occur in 1985. However in 1986, as a result of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the Ulster Resistance was formed and was led by many senior DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) figures – many of whom are still active in local politics today. There is footage on YouTube and other places of Ian Paisley and others leading a march into the Ulster Hall in Belfast at the foundation of Ulster Resistance.

The report outlines in great detail the activities of Ulster Resistance in rekindling the relationship in South Africa. They reorganised their connections within Loyalism. The paramilitary organisations all came together, the UDA, the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) and Ulster Resistance and they robbed a bank in Portadown in 1987, raising the funds. The police at all stages were fully aware of all intentions of the triumvirate of Loyalism. The report outlines in magnificent detail specific incidences of Special Branch intelligence advising them as to the intentions of the fund raising, the importation from South Africa. And eventually when the arms came in the explicit specifics of where it would go.

One of the most astounding facts emerging from this report, and many of your listeners will be familiar with the exceptional book written by Anne Cadwallader of the Pat Finucane Centre, Lethal Allies, which outlines in specific detail the activities of the Glenanne Gang who were involved in one hundred and twenty murders. The Glenanne Gang was a group of Loyalists who were RUC Officers by day and Loyalist death squads by night. And the significant arms importation would be stored in Glenanne at the farm of James Mitchell. This was a fact that was unknown to anybody. And that James Mitchell's farm in Glenanne was still a safe-haven in 1988 is shocking! The police allege in their report, in their own intelligence records, that they lost the surveillance operation and the guns were then circulated. Some arms were recovered in the early stages of 1988 but the devastating impact of these weapons would resonate throughout the years. And when one compares the lethality of Loyalism in the six years prior to this arms importation in comparison with the six years after the arms importation their capacity to kill was increased by three hundred percent – two hundred and twenty-nine people...

MG: ...Niall, we could go on actually with the programme – we just scratched the surface – I know that. We have another guest on the line that we have to get to before we close.

NM: No problem.

MG: This is something that we're going to follow-up on. We want to congratulate you for getting that report. I know that you're going to be working with groups like Relatives for Justice and also for the, legally just to pursue this, to force the British government to take action to maybe prosecute some of those people who paid for, worked with, authorised and set the stage for these murders so we want to congratulate you.

(ends time stamp ~ 47:32)


  1. I think nationalists / RCs knew the depth of bigotry in the RUC/UDR but were living in denial that the security forces would be this criminal. Fascist police state. The PSNI are the same shower of shite if it ever came to the crunch. Absolutely isgusting what the SF leadership settled for.

  2. Horrible though this obscenity was, it's not at all surprising that the cops aided or looked the other way given that off duty RUC were being picked off in the months before hand.

    A disgusting act against the softest of 'targets', designed with only one thing in mind; "The IRA cannot protect you, tell them to stop and we will stop".

    Brutal, horrific, illegal, unethical and above all inhumane.

    Shame beyond words on those responsible. A truth amnesty is the only way to healing in my opinion.

  3. Steve Ricardos,only if the British government told the truth about their murder campaign against the Irish people using agents and informers. We all know that will never happen. The evidence is destroyed and many of the agents are dead. Often killed by The British terror state itself.

  4. The RUC were about saving lives. Protestant lives. Irish native/RC lives mattered not.

  5. Larry

    I agree partially, why would they have bothered to warn RC's of threats though?


    I fear you are right, but maybe historians in the future will have better access than us now. One can hope.

    A disgusting act, but Larry i hope you don't think all prods thought like that.

  6. Steve Ricardos

    Absolutely not. I know there were people on both sides of the fence even with siblings or kids or relatives'involved' who were aghast at the entire carry on. The point I am trying to get across here is that the RUC were lecturing, very successfully with the media etc, about saving lives and crime and law and order. When it is examined in any kind of detail we see a force that from the very top refused to act upon inteligence regarding loyalist activities and weapons importation and mass murders. It is also striking to me that Haddock and Scap, the two greatest RUC/SB led and directed serial killers of the troubles, were deliberately pemitted to murder RCs at will. I believe had this been Prods or Loyalists being stiffed or targetted even, it would have been nipped immediately at the bud. Look at the attitude to arms importation from Israel/S. African agents to Ulster resisistance Paisley and Robbo etc compared to the IRA Lybian imports. Catholic housing estates in Newry and Belfast were systematically ripped apart by hundreds or RUC personnel who knew those weapons had to be south of the border. Do you think Steve Ricardos the RUC believed every house they wrecked was a Provo hideout? Or were they just bigotted scum from the top down, like Jack Hermon the bastard? Loyalists motto lest we forget ATAT.
    The RUC/PSNI require disbading. PERIOD.

    As for Protestant/unionist attitude to loyalists I was told by a Protestant friend that Billy Wright was contemplating standing for election to the council in Portadown and people found the idea side splittingly funny. Funny because after the IRA had bombed a couple of housing estates full of, or sufficiently full of RUC people in response to the afore mentioned house wrecking 'by the hundred' by them, some 8000 people in Killikomaine in Portadown had signed a petition asking the RAT to leave the estate. So Steve, looks like the Prods didn't feel the RUC could protect them either if the shit hit the fan. Personally I think the IRA were too fucking soft at the time. But Adams and Marty had careers coming down the pipeline and the RUC, the REAL loyalist terrorists, had Scap Donaldson and Storey et all to keep the IRA in 1st gear pending dismantling.

  7. Larry,

    Wright along with Adair held our own community in fear of them also, the vast majority wanted nothing to do with what they were at. They were scum, plain and simple.

    It's a common belief in the PUL community that Wright was taken out to allow the peace process to have a chance. Adair was nothing but a drug dealing/taking psychopath who could barely string a sentence together. We hated them both, they did not represent 'us'.

    But what do you mean by "Personally I think the IRA were too fucking soft at the time."?

  8. Steve Ricardo

    I think when wee girls were being shot in mobile shops and bars full of people riddled the fight could have been taken to loyalists and their families. Fire with fire. Let them experience their own antics. The IRA turned its back on its own community. It was over and loyalists were slaughtering people before the final whistle sounded. The provos let them.

  9. Larry that is the 'chicken or egg' argument, who was the bigger cunt first/last is not something to be proud of or promote.

    From the loyalist perspective they believed they did not have the military capabilities of the provos, from bomb making to spectaculars. That's why they went down the 'sicken them' route.

    'Get the ordinary taig squealing to get the provos to stop'. A disgusting attempt to justify mass murder.

    All that happened was innocents were slaughtered. Families shattered, lives destroyed. Reciprocity would have just continued the cycle of more of our countrymen and women dead and for what? Revenge?

    Is that really what you would have wanted?

  10. Steve Ricardo

    At the time turning up as one of the first at the scene of the modile shop shootings in Craigavon in time to see a classmate put a blanket over Frizel on the ground outside, a friend who had a cousin murdered later by the King Rat scum simply for being an RC taxi driver, AT THE TIME Steve, absolutely. Why not? I would have liked to see how the Prod community sucked it up.

    As for today 2016 obviously not. BTW I just saw Vincent Company tweet 'If N. Ireland play England will we have the same national anthem twice and will both teams sing along to it twice? I'm confused'

    Pricelss, on the bright side Vincent yer not half as confused as the wee huns. Ireland play Belgium today 2nd ranked team in the world. Puts that England v Wales shite into a bit of perspective I think. Come on the IRISH.

  11. Steve,

    Larry makes a valid point. I recall when Kingsmill occurred, I thought "Slap it up them". Now I see Kingsmill as a war crime, no different from Bloody Sunday. It is much easier to hold the ethical line the further removed we are from events. I read a while back where someone had written along the lines that: given the wrong circumstances most of us are capable of just about anything. A friend down here said to me a few years back "withdraw the food supply for a week and then you will see what people are capable of". A sobering thought. We can only set our faces against these things and hope to hold in all circumstances.

  12. Larry, sorry mate, I got my wires crossed. Thought you were talking in the present tense. I'm knackered from watching us bate Ukraine at 2am...but I'll be up watching& hoping the Republic win tonight.

    I've mates over there and both sets of supporters are getting on brilliantly, getting pished and having a singsong lol. Typically its the English fucking things up.


    Think that's an old Trotsky (mis)quote but could be mistaken. Regardless, I agree that they are war crimes and the passage of time makes it easier to be critical.

    But my bad, my knackered brain needs sleep with all this football.

    C'mon Norn Iron and Up Da Republic!! lol

  13. AM

    May I also just add something regarding 'the ordinary Prods' as presented to us by Steve. Were these the same ordinary Prods who voted for the DUP and assisted in setting up Ulster Resistance with the loyalist paramilitaries? When I hear Arlene belly-ache about her daddy having been targetted I just think 'Ulster Resistance'. One third of those weapons imported from S. Africa were never accounted for. Where are they Arlene? Personally I think the weapons still out there somewhere are in the hands of the RUC contingent of Ulster Resistance'. So PLEASE, no lectures about ordinary Prods or Terrorists in government. Not even now in 2016.

  14. Larry,

    people vote parties for a wide variety of reasons. No party represents to the full extent the thinking of those who vote them - other than the unthinking. "The ordinary Prod" is no better or worse than "the ordinary Catholic."

  15. Steve Ricardos

    Bloody hell I thought you were saying C'mon Norn Iron and Up Da RA actually thought we were getting somewhere...... 'mate' ? .. not even a problem. I am certain I have supped and laughed with a lot more questionable people than yourself down the years. Looks like we going to have to nail the eyeties... this games a gonner. Agh well, 9 more beers in the fridge.... what else can any self respecting Leprechaun do but SWALLEY THEM!! We'll get them Fenians with a tan on Wednesday Steve. Get yer conspiracy theory in gear.


    Yes people vote for all manner of reasons. Duplicity however is also not confined to one community either.

  16. Larry,

    I'd have no problems having a pint with you, ye'd need several after that game. Different class but sure, us Huns play the sauerkraut Huns and will probably get a gubbin but fuck it, during qualification and the Ukraine game the boys gave their all and we are just happy to have qualified in the first place. We have no illusions.

    But yep, me and my kids were up cheering on the Republic last night (11pm-we are in Oz now).

    Up da RA is a stretch too far though! LOL

  17. Steve Ricardos

    Yer a lucky man geographically speaking. Great place Australia. Aye the wee 6 cert to go through. 26 are over and out. They attack Italy they'll get a worse doing than they got yday. Only pints goin down here today are water. Settee casualty ward all day. After hitting mute for the English national anthem I will begrudgingly hope the wee 6 do well agin the Nazis, tho should they get a bad hiding it will have me in stitches too. Which just proves I'm near as confused as Vincent Company meself.

  18. Australia is a great place, though away from the coast there are wee country towns that remind me of 1950's America that ye see in the movies. But the big cities are unbelievably clean, there must be a hidden army of cleaners who come out at night getting rid of the crap. The people are VERY friendly too. Weathers crap at the minute and it lashed down all last week here in Queensland but the kids are absolutely loving it here. The Mrs seems happier too, see what happens. As long as their happy I'm easy pleased.

    Nah, can't see the wee 6 getting through even as best placed third, it's always at this point the carpet gets pulled from under us!

    One thing we can be united on, can't wait til Engurlund get humped and sent home!

  19. Steve R

    My Mrs from Manila had a good laugh at that last comment..