The Ancient Order of the Hibernians and a professional law association has spoken out against the arrest of Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey who made the documentary “No Stone Unturned”.

The arrests of two journalists in Northern Ireland whose documentary “No Stone Unturned” uncovered the truth about the notorious killing at the Heights Bar in Loughinisland where six people were killed and five wounded by the UVF has been strongly criticized by the AOH, Irish America's Largest Irish organization and by the Brehon Law Society. The attack took place in June 1994 when the bar was full of people watching the World Cup match between Ireland and Italy.

Read more: Northern police dirty tricks exposed in arrests of two investigative journalists

It has been revealed the journalists, Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, were arrested on false evidence by the police who claimed they had stolen documents used in the documentary from the Ombudsman’s office. Now, however, the Ombudsman has made clear no documents were taken

Victims of the Loughinisland Massacre.

Victims of the Loughinisland Massacre.

The AOH statement reads: “While the revelation that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) arrest of award-winning journalist Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey on manufactured charges was part of a “dirty tricks” campaign is shocking, the Ancient Order of Hibernians are not shocked.  

These specious arrests are part of a continuing campaign by the representatives of British interests in Northern Ireland to suppress the truth of British collusion and cover-up during “the Troubles.” It is yet another example of deceit being used as an element of British statecraft.   The charges against Birney and McCaffery must be expunged and those who engaged in this conspiracy to intimidate journalistic investigation held accountable to the full measure of the law.

As Irish Americans, the AOH ask our own US government to stop turning a blind eye to British assaults on justice in Northern Ireland.   Abusing the powers of the state to surpass a free press is as wrong in Belfast as it is in Burma; the US condemnation should be equally loud and vociferous.  

The Heights Bar, in Loughinisland, the scene of the massacre.

The Heights Bar, in Loughinisland, the scene of the massacre.

The Brehon Law Society statement “strongly condemns the arrests of journalists Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney in Northern Ireland this past August.  Heavily armed police swarmed their homes, terrorizing their families.  Their alleged crimes? Stealing documents from the Ombudsman’s office investigating the 1994 “World Cup” massacre in Loughinisland for their documentary, “No Stone Unturned.”  Now the Ombudsman’s office says no documents were stolen and that it has not filed a complaint.  In effect, there was no legitimate reason for the heavy-handed arrests of Mr. Birney and Mr. McCaffrey.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”  This sentiment has never been more important than it is today. The harassment of journalists pursuing the truth about legacy murder cases in Northern Ireland is unconscionable.  A free press must be protected and the citizens of all nations encouraged to follow reports on the current events that help shape their lives.

It is in this spirit that the Brehon Law Society, a law society dedicated to peace and justice, calls on the Police Service of Northern Ireland to offer a credible explanation for the arrests of Mr. Birney and Mr. McCaffrey, as well as an apology to these respected journalists and their families.

Here's the trailer for "No Stone Unturned":