Loughgall terrorists could not have been arrested

The Belfast Telegraph and BBC are reporting the results of the HET enquiry into the Loughgall ambush in 1987 where eight members of the IRA’s est Tyrone brigade and an innocent passer-by were killed. For those who do not remember the incident the IRA gang attacked the small RUC station in the village of Loughgall; this attack being part of a pattern of attacking small rural RUC stations (previously Ballygawley and the Birches had been attacked).

The terrorists arrived in a digger with a bomb in its bucket and a van. The digger smashed through the perimeter of the police station and the terrorists emerged from the van firing at the police station. The SAS and police officers waiting then opened fire on the terrorists and in the ensuing gun battle all eight terrorists were killed. All were wearing boiler suits and gloves: tragically a completely innocent passer by Anthony Hughes was driving past along with his brother; both having the misfortune to be wearing boiler suits. Mr. Hughes was killed and his brother seriously injured when they were mistaken for terrorists.

A number of relatives of the dead terrorists have claimed that the IRA members should have been arrested. However, the HET has concluded not only that the IRA members fired first but that the IRA members could not have been safely arrested and that the security forces were justified in opening fire.

The original ITN news report is here