British reporting at the time of the McGurk’s Bar bombing was at best lazy or at worst downright biased. We still have to take the media to task.
Here is an open comment/complaint to the BBC regarding its report into police bias and our families today. We await its response.
In the linked report into the McGurk’s Bar judicial review, the BBC reports:
At the time of the attack it was suggested that it may have been an accidental “own goal”.
Whilst it may have been, I believe that it is more pertinent if you report hard facts, namely which organisation(s) “suggested” that it was a Republican “own-goal”.
This is especially important and relevant in this article as the pretext that the McGurk’s Bar bombing was a Republican own-goal was created by the police force in question, namely the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).
In a RUC Duty Officers’ Report the morning after the atrocity, the RUC created the lie:
A man entered the licenced premises and left down a suitcase presumably to be picked up by a known member of the Provisional IRA. The bomb was intended for use on other premises. Before the ‘pick-up’ was made the bomb exploded.
This was a baseless lie, and is now a matter of public record.
The Chief Constable of the RUC then reported to the NI Prime Minister the grievous lie:
Two of those killed were known IRA members, at least one of whom had been associated with bombing activities.
Again, this was a heinous lie created by the head of the RUC. It too is a matter of public record.
Considering this article regards the bias of the police, why did the BBC not report that the RUC misinformed the media, public and government? Is it bias?
Update – Reply from a BBC Editor, 7th October 2015
I am replying to your complaint about our story which reported the PSNI’s decision not to legally challenge the Police Ombudsman’s finding that the RUC was biased in how it investigated the McGurk’s Bar bombing.
The article failed to explain adequately a complex story or the full context of the RUC’s behaviour at the time. I apologise for the lack of clarity in our writing and have now had the story updated to reflect more fully the circumstances:
Four years ago, a Police Ombudsman investigation identified investigative bias in how the RUC handled the case. As a result relatives of those killed launched a legal action. The 2011 Police Ombudsman investigation said the police had wrongly briefed the government and media that the IRA was responsible for the attack. The investigation also concluded that detectives failed to properly probe loyalist paramilitary responsibility for the bombing because they were “so focused on the mistaken idea that the IRA was to blame”.
I hope you find this useful.
Follow-Up Comment/Complaint, 8th October 2015[Dear Sir]
Well not really, but I do appreciate your time.
Firstly, that is incorrect. We didn’t launch a legal bid because of the Police Ombudsman’s decision. We launched actions against the PSNI because the Chief Constable denied the central finding of the Police Ombudsman’s report but then the Chief Constable would not give us the HET report. We took him to court to access this report, which we won.
Then we had to take him to court again as the HET report was an attempted whitewash which tried to ignore a mountain of evidence which I have had to spend much of my adult life uncovering.
Secondly, the main complaint I had was that the BBC reported: “At the time of the attack it was suggested that it may have been an accidental “own goal”.
I laid out hard archive evidence why the BBC should correctly report that the RUC briefed the press and the government that the McGurk’s Bar bombing was an IRA own-goal.
Am I to to assume that the BBC is just going to delete that statement and not report the hard fact of RUC complicity (instead reporting that the Police Ombudsman’s report “said”)?…[Yours faithfully] etc
Ciarán MacAirt is an Irish writer and author of The McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for Truth.
He also manages Paper Trail, an innovative charity and social enterprise which offers legacy archive research services and helps families unearth the truth hidden in public records.