New inquests to be held into IRA deaths at Loughgall

PACEMAKER BELFAST 1988'The bullet riddled Hiace van in which 8 IRA men were shot dead by the SAS outside Loughgall RUC station in 1988.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 1988'The bullet riddled Hiace van in which 8 IRA men were shot dead by the SAS outside Loughgall RUC station in 1988.

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New inquests are to be held into the deaths of eight IRA terrorists and a civilian shot dead by the SAS in Loughgall in 1987.

Soldiers opened fire on members of the IRA active service unit who were preparing to bomb a police station in Loughgall in 1987.

It was the biggest single loss of life suffered by the IRA during the Troubles.

The law firm representing those who died said it was a “welcome development” to address “unanswered questions” that remained.

Advocate General for Northern Ireland Jeremy Wright QC had been asked by the government to decide whether new inquests should happen.

“Following careful consideration of a huge amount of material I have come to the decision that new inquests into the Loughgall deaths are justified,” Mr Wright QC said.

“The new inquests will establish who has died, and how, when and where the death occurred. The Coroners Service for Northern Ireland will now take this forward.”

Solicitor Darragh Mackin said, “We now request that the Coroner’s Office for Northern is granted appropriate funding to undertake these inquests - and all other conflict-related legacy inquests as soon as possible and a timetable for these inquests to be set.

“We remain concerned that this decision was taken by an English law officer who is an elected politician and not the Attorney General for Northern Ireland.”

“Clarity on this matter remains so that it can be avoided in the future and such important decisions are taken in Belfast and not London.”