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Government apology to innocent victims of SAS Loughgall ambush

Loughgall Police Station after the gun and bomb attack in 1987 which left 8 IRA men and an innocent passer by dead, all killed by an SAS unit which was lying in wait. Photo by Tony Hendron. INPT50-225.

Loughgall Police Station after the gun and bomb attack in 1987 which left 8 IRA men and an innocent passer by dead, all killed by an SAS unit which was lying in wait. Photo by Tony Hendron. INPT50-225.

The family of an innocent man, shot dead by the SAS during the ambush of an IRA unit in Loughgall, has finally received an apology.

Anthony Hughes was killed when, along with his brother, he drove unknowingly into the ambush.

Eight IRA men were killed by the SAS as they attacked Loughgall RUC station on May 8, 1987.

Mr Hughes (36) from Caledon, died after being hit by 15 bullets as he attempted to reverse his car away from the scene.

His brother Oliver survived despite being struck 14 times by SAS gunfire as he tried to escape from the car.

The government has now apologised to the family after a wait of 27 years.

Oliver passed away in 2010 aged 62 having never received an apology for the serious injuries he suffered.

Speaking to a daily newspaper, Anthony’s widow Brigid welcomed the apology.

“I’m glad that this apology has come but slow justice is no justice,” she said.

Signed on behalf of the minister for defence by the under secretary Anna Soubry, the letter confirms that Mr Hughes was “wholly innocent of any wrongdoing”.

“I apologise on behalf of the government for Anthony’s death and also the serious injuries suffered by his brother,” she wrote.

“I hope this letter may go some way to easing your grief and being clear that your husband and his brother had done nothing wrong.”

The family of Anthony Hughes had rejected an initial apology from the MOD in 2012 because they believed it attempted to apportion some blame for the incident to the brothers, according to the Irish News.

However the fresh apology was sent two months ago.

Mr Hughes was one of nine men shot dead when the SAS ambushed an IRA unit which was in the process of attacking Loughgall RUC station.

The father-of-three was travelling through the village with his brother when they innocently drove into the ambush.

 

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