Families of the victims of the McGurk’s Bar Massacre will attend the Policing Board this Thursday 1st December at 2pm to petition political representatives and independent Board members for support in their on-going court battles against the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Chief Constable.
The following day, a long-running Judicial Review hearing will be heard at Belfast’s High Court. The families are demanding that the police quash a Historical Enquiries Team report on the atrocity which upholds the original police investigation despite evidence discovered by the families which proves that the police disseminated lies about the victims of the attack and blamed them for the bombing.
4th December is then 45th anniversary of the attack which claimed the lives of 15 innocent victims, including 2 children.
This also follows the discovery of a ground-breaking archive (1) by author Ciarán MacAirt, which proves that a British Army bomb expert informed British Headquarters that the bar was attacked when a bomb was planted in the entrance-way and not an “own-goal” as publicised by the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Ciarán MacAirt is a grandson of one of the murder victims, Kathleen Irvine, and he said:
“The policing Board is there to hold the Chief Constable and the PSNI to account, and George Hamilton and his officers have failed our families and the local community. Most recently, he failed to act on key evidence which I pleaded with him to retrieve from a file I highlighted in October 2015.”
“We now know that this file is indeed key evidence in the mass murder of our loved ones in McGurk’s Bar as it proves that the state and the police knew that the bar had been attacked. Instead the state and the police blamed the innocent victims and cover-up for the murderers.”
“This Policing Board meeting is an opportunity for political representatives to ask him why he is ignoring this evidence and why he continues to defend an indefensible HET report in court. He is doing nothing but re-traumatizing our families and delaying justice.”
Family members will be present outside the Policing Board and available to answer questions from 2-2.30 pm, before attending the public session. They will also submit two letters, one for the Chief Constable and one for the Chair of the Policing Board.
For details, contact family member, Robert McClenaghan on 07752500513.
(1) Commander’s Diary, Headquarters Northern Ireland Log 5th December 1971 records:
“ATO [Ammunition Technical Officer] is convinced bomb was placed in entrance way on ground floor. The area is cratered and clearly was the seat of the explosion.”
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.