50 years ago today, the police Chief Constable and Head of Special Branch lied directly to the government about the McGurk's Bar Massacre.
On 16th December 1971, Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Chief Constable Graham Shillington and Assistant Chief Constable David Johnston, the Head of RUC Special Branch, attended a Joint Security Committee Meeting at Stormont, the seat of the Northern Irish government.
The Joint Security Committee meeting included the Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Brian Faulkner, and his Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, John Taylor – now Lord Kilcooney – who continues to spew his false allegations about the explosion.
Commander of the British Army in Northern Ireland, Lt General Sir Harry Tuzo, was there too, along with the Security Liaison Officer who was a member of Britain's Security Service, MI5.
Serial 5 of the Special Branch Assessment of Agenda 1 regards the RUC's lies about the McGurk’s Bar Massacre:
“Circumstantial evidence indicates that this was a premature detonation and two of those killed were known IRA members at least one of whom had been associated with bombing activities. Intelligence indicates that the bomb was destined for use elsewhere in the city.”
Serial 2 of the RUC Special Branch Assessment records the police brief that the IRA operations:
"... have been mounted with a reckless disregard for human life and with the apparent aims of capturing newspaper headlines and of provoking a Protestant backlash which could be used to justify their actions. In the latter aim they failed."
The RUC's lies had just helped to protect Loyalist mass-murderers and cover up the most murderous attack in Belfast since the Nazi Blitz in 1941. We want to know why.
This author discovered a reference to this high-level meeting in Public Records Office Northern Ireland (PRONI) a decade ago and it proved that the RUC leaders briefed government. I only secured a copy of its contents last year as the British authorities denied me access to it due to "National Security". National shame, it should be.
We now know too that the origin of these lies can be traced back to collusion between Brigadier Frank Kitson and the RUC hours after the explosion and before all of our loved ones were even identified.
Brigadier Frank Kitson informed British Army 39 Brigade around 4 hours after the attack:
“RUC have a line that the bomb in the pub was a bomb designed to be used elsewhere, left in the pub to be picked up by the Provisional IRA. Bomb went off and was a mistake. RUC press office have a line on it – NI should deal with them.”
We now know too that the British Armed Forces engineered a high-level, coordinated and sustained plot to deceive not only Stormont government, but also Westminster government in London. Our report into this has resulted in a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman against the Cabinet Office [link].
I raised separate requests under the Freedom of Information Act for the provenance of these lies with Police Service Northern Ireland and the Ministry of Defence.
Both organisations are up to their necks in the McGurk's Bar cover-up so I took complaints against each to the Information Commissioner's Office.
Chief Constable Snub
On 2nd December 2021, two days before the 50th anniversary of the McGurk's Bar Massacre, our families protested the Northern Ireland Policing Board due to PSNI's deliberate withholding of this evidence. Chief Constable Simon Byrne was in attendance but he snubbed us.
I challenged Simon Byrne a year ago and I challenge him again on the 50th anniversary of his predecessor's lies: either prove the police lies about our loved ones, or admit that the police fabricated them and then colluded with Brigadier Frank Kitson and the British Army to cover up the true circumstances of the McGurk's Bar Massacre.
It is as simple as that. We have caught the police lying and we have the proof from their own files.
Chief Constable Byrne can access this evidence immediately as these are police lies that are buried in PSNI archives; but the Chief Constable won't. Half a century after one police Chief Constable lied about our loved ones, another Chief Constable is helping to perpetuate these police lies.