The Enniskillen born producer of a film which names the chief suspects in the Loughinisland massacre said the decision to reveal the names was “not [one] we took lightly.”

Trevor Birney is CEO of Fine Point Films, the independent production company behind ‘No Stone Unturned’, a documentary examining the shooting dead of six Catholic men in the Heights Bar, Loughinisland, in June 1994 by UVF gunmen who burst in while they were watching the Republic of Ireland play Italy in the World Cup.

The film was directed by Oscar winning producer Alex Gibney and was released in cinemas yesterday (Friday).

It names two alleged gunmen and the getaway driver for the first time and also suggests that: RUC Special Branch were aware of UVF plans to kill before the massacre happened; police destroyed evidence, including the getaway car; suspects were warned they were about to be interviewed in advance of their arrest; and there were informers in the gang responsible for the deaths.

The documentary also names the wife of the suspected gunman, who worked in the canteen of a police station. It reveals how she made phone calls to police and sent a letter to an SDLP councillor naming her husband and the other two suspects, and also claiming she had a part in planning the attack.

Ronald Hawthorne, was arrested after the attack but has never been charged.

The film gained access to a 2008 Police Ombudsman review of the RUC/PSNI investigation into Loughinisland which has never been published but had been leaked to Irish News journalist Barry McCaffrey.
The Police Ombudsman’s 2016 report into the massacre identified collusion as a significant feature of the killings.

‘No Stone Unturned’ held its Irish premiere in front of relatives of the six men in Loughinisland last Friday evening, hosted by Belfast Film Festival.
The families’ solicitor Niall Murphy from KRW Law said the PSNI “should arrest and charge people with offences arising from the atrocity,” telling The Irish Times: “That this hasn’t happened in the last 23 years since the atrocity is an inexcusable disgrace knowing now what we know.”
The PSNI responded to the film by requesting an investigation into how sensitive documents came to be used in the film, a move that has been described by Sinn Fein MLA Emma Rogen, whose father Adrian Rogan was killed in the shooting, as “cruel.”

“Six men are dead and families still devastated but they want to go after a document; a document that’s in a film that gives the families the truth,” she said.

Work on the film began in January 2012 when Mr. Birney, a former journalist with The Impartial Reporter, was contacted by the families’ solicitor.

“For the first three years we were raising the finance and working with the families to build the story. In parallel to this, Fine Point was building its base in the US. We had worked with Alex Gibney on his film ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’ and through this he began to get interested in the story of Loughinisland. ESPN commissioned us to produce a short documentary, Ceasefire Massacre, which was broadcast at the time of the last World Cup. But we were determined to tell the story in a full feature length film - which we now have in ‘No Stone Unturned’,” he explained.
Describing Alex Gibney as “simply the best in the business,” Mr. Birney added: “To see Alex get so passionate about a local story has been a fascinating experience.”

Naming the suspects “was not a decision we took lightly,” he said.
“We have been working in the background with our legal team for over a year. It’s not the first time that journalists have named suspects in high profile cases. Journalists did so as regards both the Omagh bomb and the Pat Finucane cases - in the Finucane case it actually led to a conviction. 
“The Loughinisland families still hope that even now they will see those responsible charged and convicted,” said Mr. Birney.

The families will continue fighting their civil case against the Ministry of Defence and the PSNI and “the film will bring their story to a global audience,” said Mr. Birney.

Mr. Birney concluded: “All the families from Loughinisland ever asked for was the truth. For over 22 years they have heard nothing but speculation and conspiracy theories. 
“The Police Ombudsman went as far as he could given the restrictions under which his office operates. The film has gone further and for that the families have thanked us. 

“I’ve no doubt there are many families in Fermanagh who seek and desire the same unvarnished truth that lies behind the death of their loved ones. The question is: Are the British authorities are prepared to give it to them? I have to say I doubt they ever will - which only makes the work of investigative journalists such as my colleague Barry McCaffrey all the more vital.”