While the Republic of Ireland – Italy game is going on, two members of the Loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force walk into The Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down with assault rifles and kill six Catholics who are watching the game. One of the dead was 87-year-old Barney Green, the oldest victim of the Troubles. No satisfactory resolution to this appalling crime has been made. The original Ombudsman’s report published in 2011 (17 years after the event) was deemed a whitewash by relatives of the deceased who state with some conviction that the murderers received significant support from Crown forces. In 2012, Belfast High Court quashed the report’s findings and Hutchinson was replaced by Michael Maguire, who ordered a new inquiry into the massacre.
On the 18th anniversary of the attack, the Republic of Ireland football team again played Italy – this time in the Euro 2012 at Poznań, Poland. The Irish team wore black armbands during the match, to commemorate those killed while watching the same teams playing 18 years before. The idea was proposed by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and backed by UEFA. Some prominent loyalists berated the move. South Belfast UDA brigadier Jackie McDonald said that it was “bringing politics into sport” and would lead to “dire repercussions” for football. Another leading loyalist, Winston Churchill Rea, also raised concerns about the tribute. However, the victims’ families fully supported the gesture.
On 29 April 2014, ESPN, as part of their 30 for 30 series, broadcast a documentary about the shootings, named “Ceasefire Massacre”.
Photo: Memorial to the six men murdered