Loughinisland massacre

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Event.png Loughinisland massacre  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Date18 June 1994
Injured (non-fatal)6

The Loughinisland massacre[1][2][3][4] took place on 18 June 1994 in the small village of Loughinisland, County Down, Northern Ireland. Members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a loyalist paramilitary group, burst into a pub with assault rifles and fired on the customers,[5] killing six civilians and wounding five. The pub was targeted because it was frequented mainly by Catholics,[6] and was crowded with people watching the Republic of Ireland play against Italy in the 1994 FIFA World Cup. It is thus sometimes called the "World Cup massacre".[7][8] The UVF claimed the attack was retaliation for the killing of three UVF members by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

There have been allegations that police (Royal Ulster Constabulary) double agents or informers in the UVF were linked to the massacre and that police protected those informers by destroying evidence and failing to carry out a proper investigation.[9]

At the request of the victims' families, the Police Ombudsman investigated the police. In 2011 the Ombudsman concluded that there were major failings in the police investigation, but no evidence that police colluded with the UVF. The Ombudsman did not investigate the role of informers and the report was branded a whitewash. The Ombudsman's own investigators demanded to be disassociated from it. The report was quashed, the Ombudsman replaced and a new inquiry ordered.[10]

In 2016, a new Ombudsman report concluded that there had been collusion between the police and the UVF, and that the investigation was undermined by the wish to protect informers, but found no evidence police had foreknowledge of the attack.[11] A documentary film about the massacre, No Stone Unturned, was released in 2017. It named the main suspects, one of whom was a British soldier, and claimed that one of the killers was an informer.[12]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey were arrested after their Loughinisland Massacre documentary premieredArticle25 March 2019Kerry O'SheaAmnesty International: “We are concerned that the arrest of these journalists, in connection with their work investigating grave human rights abuses within the UK, undermines freedom of expression and freedom of the press."


  1. O'Brien, Brendan. The Long War: The IRA and Sinn Féin. Syracuse University Press, 1999. Page 314.
  2. Elliott, Sydney. Conflict in Northern Ireland: an encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, 1999. Page 350.
  3. Sluka, Jeffrey. Death Squad: The Anthropology of State Terror. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. Page 141.
  4. Cusack, Jim. UVF. Poolbeg, 1997. Page 317.
  5. "The UVF's catalogue of atrocities". BBC News. 18 June 2009.
  6. The Economist newspaper. 25 June 1994. Pages 25–26. "For the 24 fans gathered in Heights Bar in the quiet village of Loughinisland in County Down, the cheering was followed by carnage. Two men walked into the pub and sprayed the room with bullets, killing six and wounding five, and then fled laughing. The Ulster Volunteer Force, a Protestant terrorist group, later claimed it had carried out the attack. It chose the pub only because it knew that those gathered to support Ireland's team would be Catholic".
  7. "Six shot dead in Ulster World Cup massacre". The Independent. 19 June 1994.
  8. "1994 World Cup massacre of Irish fans by Loyalists will be major ESPN movie". IrishCentral. 12 January 2014.
  9. "RUC informers 'knew about Loughinisland shootings'". The Observer. 13 September 2009.
  10. "Loughinisland massacre: Court quashes Police Ombudsman report". BBC News, 20 December 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  11. "Loughinisland: Ombudsman confirms collusion between police and loyalist killers". BBC News, 9 June 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  12. Document:Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey were arrested after their Loughinisland Massacre documentary premiered
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