PORTADOWN man, Paul McIlwaine, whose son was savagely murdered by a UVF member in 2000, joined relatives of the 1994 Loughinisland murders as they commemorated the 18th anniversary of the atrocity on Monday evening.
Mr McIlwaine travelled to Heights Bar in the County Down village of Loughinisland, which was the scene of a mass shooting when the UVF indiscriminately shot six men, all of whom were Catholics, on June 18, 1994.
It was a poignant evening as the relatives watched the European Championship match between the Republic of Ireland and Italy on television.
The six men gunned down in 1994 had also been watching the two countries play in 1994, this time in the World Cup in the United States.
The UDA leader Jackie McDonald had publicly criticised the Football Association of Ireland’s (FAI) decision to wear black armbands in Monday’s game, and Mr McIlwaine said this outburst prompted him to show solidarity with the Loughinisland families.
He said, “It was a great moment. I’ve met more or less all of (the victims’) families through work on a victims’ support group. It was very emotional and everyone made us feel welcome.”
Mr McIlwaine has meanwhile been denied legal aid to pursue a judicial review on the decision to allow Mark Burcombe, who was originally accused of David’s killing, to turn ‘supergrass’ and testify against killer Steven Brown.
However, he is also waiting on the publication of an Ombudsman report into the original police investigation. “At best, for them (the PSNI) it will be gross negligence or at worst collusion. I expect to know in the next few weeks,” added Mr McIlwaine.