Northern Ireland

Loughinisland officer could face disciplinary action

Heights bar Loughinisland
Image caption Six men were shot dead in The Heights bar in 1994

The police ombudsman is considering "disciplinary matters" against a police officer over the investigation into the Loughinisland massacre.

On Tuesday, the Public Prosecution Service said it would not be proceeding with charges against the officer.

The police reservist had originally been reported to the PPS by the ombudsman.

He was questioned earlier this year over perverting the course of justice and witholding information.

Six men were killed when two UVF gunmen opened fire in The Heights Bar in the village in the summer of 1994.

In a statement, the PPS said: "The PPS has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction of the individual reported by the office of the police ombudsman.

"The PPS has informed the ombudsman and the families of this decision."

On Wednesday, the ombudsman's office said: "We are now considering potential disciplinary matters involving a police officer arising out of our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Loughinisland massacre."

The PPS's decision not to prosecute was criticised by Sinn Fein, while the SDLP said it was frustrating for the families of those who died.

"The decision by the PPS not to proceed with prosecutions, on the back of the damning inquiry into the Loughinisland massacre, is nothing short of scandalous," Sinn Fein's Caitriona Ruane said.

She added it was "a major blow to the families who have campaigned tirelessly for justice".

SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie called for the immediate publication of the police ombudsman's report into the massacre.

"The families of those who lost loved ones in the Loughinisland massacre have lived without justice for 16 years now," she said.

"Each delay and setback adds to their pain and suffering."

The police ombudsman said its report into the investigation is to be published early in the new year.

A spokesman said while the PPS decision "clears the way" they still have "completion work" to do.

"We're in the closing stages and we will be publishing in the new year," he said.

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