Loughgall 'Was Shoot-to-Kill' Insists SF

Republicans have today insisted that the infamous Loughgall SAS 'ambush' was in fact a 'Shoot-to-Kill' operation.

Despite a leaked report today in the Belfast Telegraph, concluding that the IRA unit "opened fire first" with the SAS then leaving eight members of the IRA's 'East Tyrone Brigade' dead on 8 May 1987, Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff said: "The men killed at Loughgall were victims of a British Government policy of Shoot-to-Kill.

"Nobody believes that the British Army unit were sent into Loughgall that evening to arrest anybody.

"They were sent there to kill the IRA unit and that is what they did," he said in an Sinn Fein statement.

"If the HET [PSNI's Historical Enquiries Team] try and put forward a different theory it will say more about that group's credibility than anything else.

"The families of those killed at Loughgall deserve the truth. They do not deserve continuing cover-up and concealment by the British government or by the HET.

"The fact that this report was leaked to the media before being given to the families says much about the intent of the HET with regard to this investigation," he said.

The terrorists were killed as they approached the police station with a 200lb bomb, its fuse lit, in the bucket of a hijacked digger.

The IRA men who died were the East Tyrone IRA 'Commander' Patrick Kelly, 32; Declan Arthurs, 21; Seamus Donnelly, 19; Michael Gormley, 25; Eugene Kelly, 25; James Lynagh, 31, Patrick McKearney, 32 and Gerard O'Callaghan, 29.

A civilian, Anthony Hughes, 36, was killed and his brother badly wounded when they were caught up in the crossfire.

It had previously been believed that the SAS had fired first making the shootings at Loughgall RUC station one of the most controversial of the Troubles.

It was reported that the soldiers fired more than 600 bullets with the IRA men firing 70 shots.
News Image
The Sinn Fein politician concluded: "The eight IRA Volunteers killed at Loughgall were much loved by their families and by the communities from which they came."


However, the DUP's Newry & Armagh MLA William Irwin has said that the legitimacy of the SAS team's actions that day must be accepted.

He also said that this dismissed the claims that a so-called 'Shoot-to-Kill' policy was in operation and questioned how the European Court of Human Rights could rule in 2001 that families of the men should receive £10,000 compensation.

"The PIRA gang which set out to attack Loughgall Police Station in 1987 had very clear objectives; the destruction of property and the murder of Police Officers. Indeed the weapons recovered from the IRA terrorists at Loughgall were used in at least seven murders.

"It is now reported that the HET investigators have concluded that the PIRA opened fire first and that the SAS team at Loughgall responded to this and could not safely make arrests.

"This clearly demonstrates that the SAS soldiers took the only available option to them," he said.

He added that, once again the Historical Enquiries Team have demonstrated their ability to shed very valuable new light on cold cases: "It highlights why they, and not bodies such as the Police Ombudsman's Office should be tasked with and given the necessary resources to review cases from the past."

The Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy has also welcomed the findings that the IRA gang which attacked Loughgall Police Station in May 1987 were the first to open fire, triggering the response by the SAS which left eight terrorists dead.

Mr Kennedy, who represents Newry & Armagh, the constituency in which the event took place, said: "I look forward to the publication of the HET Report into the Loughgall incident, but some facts are already very clear.

"The findings certainly nail the lie of the so-called 'Loughgall martyrs' and the questions as to why the terrorists involved weren't arrested," he said.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

29 July 2021
First Minister Attends Dedication Ceremony Of New UK Police Memorial
NI's First Minister Paul Givan has attended a dedication ceremony of a new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Mr Givan laid a wreath commemorating all those from across the police service who had died on duty and said the memorial was a fitting tribute to those who had lost their lives to protect us all.
29 July 2021
Man Found With 'Stab Wound To The Neck' In L'Derry
Police in L'Derry have issued an appeal for information after a man was found with a "stab wound to his neck". It is understood at around 4am this morning police responded to a report of an injured man in the Meadowbank Avenue area. The man remains in hospital. It is understood that his wounds are not thought to be life-threatening.
04 November 2020
Homes Targeted In Finaghy Burglaries
A spate of burglaries in the Finaghy area has prompted police to call for vigilance. Homes in Priory Park, Sicily Park and Locksley Parade have been broken into over the past week. PSNI has asked the public to be vigilant and report unfamiliar persons or vehicles by calling 101.
28 July 2021
Murder Investigation After Death Of Child In North Belfast
The PSNI have launched a murder investigation following the death of a young child in north Belfast. According to reports, police and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) responded to a 999 call reporting an incident at a house on Brompton Park at about 8.16pm on Tuesday 27 July.
28 July 2021
Police Appeal For Missing Woman Lydia King
Police have issued an appeal for help in tracing the whereabouts of 45-year-old Lydia King. Lydia was last seen at Musgrave Park Hospital at approximately 10am on Friday 23 July 2021. Lydia is a Filipino national who has been residing in the Gardenmore Road area of Belfast for approximately eight months.