No Stone Unturned Journalists Have NUJ Backing

Rogan Stands With The Journalists

Emma Rogan MLA (Sinn Féin), whose father Aidan Rogan died in the shooting, said: “The arrest of investigative journalists Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney for their work on the documentary ‘No Stone Unturned’ is of grave concern.

“This documentary helped expose the extent of collusion between the state and loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of six people in Loughinisland. 

“These arrests are an attack on the freedom of press which is a fundamental element of any democratic society that allows journalists to carry out their work unhindered.

Aidan O’Toole, who was working in the bar during the Loughinisland attack, with Emma Rogan MLA whose father died in the shooting, and South Down MP Chris Hazzard MP, right, at the Heights Bar in Loughinisland

“The families of those murdered have been subject to 20 years of state cover-up on collusion into the murders carried out by loyalist paramilitaries.

“Instead of the police taking action against those responsible for murdering these six people, they arrested the two journalists who exposed the evidence to TV screens across the world. We welcome the support of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in this case addressing the issue of their rights.”

There was a showing of the film No Stone Unturned in the Saddle and Sail Bar in Killough on 9th March which was well attended. Emma Rogan said it was important for people to see the film and fully appreciate the issues that the families have faced in their journey for justice.

Emma Rogan MLA, right, pictured in the Saddle or Sail Bar in Killough with Sinn Féin party workers Oonagh Hanlon and Jordan Madden after the showing of No Stone Unturned on Saturday evening 9th March..

NUJ Backs No Stone Unturned Journalists

As a long-standing NUJ member, I support my union, the NUJ, in its campaign to support the two journalists arrested in the No Stone Unturned case and to protect the freedom of the press.

The NUJ Branch Secretary, canvassing the support of members across the North, said: “Our colleagues Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney were due back in court on Wednesday 20th March having been arrested on August 31st 2018 by detectives from Durham Constabulary, supported by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

“Their documentary, “No Stone Unturned”, which is an examination of the six unsolved murders in an attack at O’Toole’s Bar in Loughinisland, County Down in 1994, and is an outstanding example of public interest journalism.

“The documentary raises serious questions about the police investigation into the attack. There has been widespread international support for the NUJ campaign and we are grateful to the many NUJ members for their role in highlighting the case.”

And Séamus Dooley, NUJ Ireland Secretary writing in The Irish Journalist said that on 31st August 2018police had raided the homes of the two journalists Barry McCaffrey and Trevor McBirney and the offices of Fine Point Films and removed items of evidence still being held.

Police seized phones, computers, and records, but Dooley said that this intense interest by the police was not following a break-though in the investigation by police to ‘catch the killers’ but compromised the two journalists of No Stone Unturned. He said it was a ‘fishing expedition’ by the police.

The documentary film on the Loughinisland shooting, No Stone Unturned, had provided evidence of the murders of the six men at the Heights Bar in Loughinisland in 1994 by the UVF and had named those they claim responsible for the shooting.

Currently the two journalists are on bail until November 2019 without charge.

The Irish NUJ Secretary Séamus Dooley added: “It is an outrage that priority should be given to an investigation into a public interest documentary rather than acting upon the information unearthed… we acknowledge the solidarity of ICTU, Amnesty International, and the families of those murdered.”

The NUJ has received widespread international support for its campaign to support the journalists as an attack on press freedom from across the world from the US, Europe, New Zealand, and from the International Federation of Journalists.

Max Gibney of Fine Points Film said that the arrests reflect the inadequacy of the police to properly investigate the Loughinisland case and should have investigated the murders correctly.

Also, an action has been taken through the courts by the journalists to protect the items taken as ‘evidence’ (given that items such as the getaway car and other early records of the case have already disappeared.)

The NUJ and Amnesty International staged a well-attended protest outside the Courts on Wednesday 20th March.