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Two men arrested over theft of Loughinisland massacre documents

The inquiry centres on the theft of sensitive material which was used in a documentary film re-examining the 1994 murders.

Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down
Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down
Image: PA Wire

TWO MEN HAVE been arrested over the suspected theft of confidential documents relating to the Loughinisland massacre.

Detectives from Durham Constabulary, supported by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), today executed search warrants at three properties in the Belfast area.

Two residential properties and a business premises were searched.

Two men, aged 51 and 48, were arrested on suspicion of theft and are currently being questioned at Musgrave Police Station.

A number of documents and computer equipment seized during the raids will be examined by specialist officers over the coming days.

Pub massacre 

The operation relates to the suspected theft of materials held by the office of the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland (PONI) relating to a police investigation into the murder of six men at Loughinisland, County Down on 18 June 1994.

On the day in question members of the loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) entered the Heights Bar and started shooting as football fans watched the Republic of Ireland team play in the 1994 Fifa World Cup. Six men were killed and five others were injured.

Officials from the PONI reported the theft to the PSNI, who in turn asked Durham Constabulary to conduct an independent investigation.

‘Significant development’

The inquiry centres on the theft of sensitive material which was used in a documentary film re-examining the 1994 murders.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said this morning’s arrests are “a significant development in what has been a complex investigation”.

“The terms of reference given to our inquiry were clear in that the investigation is solely into the alleged theft of material from PONI.

“The theft of these documents potentially puts lives at risk and we will follow the evidence wherever it leads us.”

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Órla Ryan

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