The Loughgall Ambush: English Law Officer Grants New Inquests after Legal Threat
KRW LAW LLP is instructed on behalf of the relatives of the victims of the Loughgall Ambush in which eight of the members of the Provisional IRA and one civilian were shot by the British army’s SAS on 8th May 1987.
In 2012 the families had applied to the Attorney General for Northern Ireland for a new inquest into the deaths. In 2014, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland directed that the decision to order a new inquest into the Loughgall Ambush be removed from the jurisdiction of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland John Larkin QC, a law officer of the Crown, and placed within the jurisdiction of the Advocate General Jeremy Wright QC MP, a law officer of the Crown and an elected political representative.
Jeremy Wright has now communicated to KRW LAW LLP that he is has decided to direct a inquests into the Loughgall Ambush. This is a welcome development to address the unanswered questions regarding collusion and responsibility in the Loughgall Ambush in which eight members of the Provisional IRA and one civilian were killed by the British army’s SAS and the RUC. KRW KAW LLP will now inform the relatives of the victims of this important development.
There is as yet no time table for these inquests to start and the decision will add to the burden of the resource starved Coroner’s Office for Northern Ireland prompting demands for the Coroner’s Office to be properly funded so that it can undertake human rights compliant inquests into all the Legacy cases where the Attorney General for Northern Ireland so directs. In addition we seek assurances that these inquests will not be burdened by the arguments over the disclosure of key evidential material held by state agencies which have hampered other Conflict related Legacy inquests.
KRW LAW LLP were granted leave earlier in the year to challenge the decision of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to direct that the Loughgall Ambush inquest decision be taken by the English law officer and not the Attorney-General for Northern Ireland on the grounds of national security. Clarity is still required on this contentious point to avoid similar contentious political decisions regarding Conflict related deaths and injuries bring taken in London and not Belfast.
Mairead Kelly, whose brother Patrick was one of the victims of the Loughgall Ambush, said:
“We welcome the decision to have new inquests into the Loughgall Ambush in which my brother was killed by the SAS. It is a decision that should have been taken here in Northern Ireland and not in London and not by a British politician. We hope that the inquests can be established promptly and that the families of the victims and the Coroner are provided with all the information they need. We are a step further toward the truth, justice and accountability we seek on behalf of our loved ones.”
Darragh Mackin, KRW LAW LLP solicitor instructed by the families of the Loughgall Ambush victims said:
“On behalf of the families of the victims of the Loughgall Ambush we welcome this decision by Jeremy Wright to direct new inquests. We now request that the Coroner’s Office for Northern is granted appropriate funding to undertake these inquests – and all others Conflict related Legacy inquests – as soon as possible and a timetable for these inquests to be set. Further will be seeking assurances regarding the disclosure of evidence. 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.”