The families of the McGurk’s Bar Massacre are gravely disappointed that Chief Constable Simon Byrne chose not to meet them at the Policing Board (Thursday 2nd December).
The families were there two days before the 50th anniversary of the atrocity to protest the Police Service Northern Ireland’s withholding of evidence relating to collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary and British Army in the cover-up of the massacre. The evidence relates to a previous Chief Constable too.
Families of the 15 civilians murdered in the McGurk’s Bar Massacre of 4th December 1971 were left out in the cold when Chief Constable Simon Byrne denied them the opportunity to meet. The families wished to discuss Police Service Northern Ireland’s failure to hand over critical evidence of Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and British Army collusion in the cover-up of the atrocity.
British state archives discovered by the families prove that the RUC and British Army agreed a “line” blaming the victims for the massacre just hours after the explosion, and that a previous Chief Constable and head of Special Branch lied directly to the Northern Ireland Prime Minister and General Officer Commanding, Lt. General Sir Harry Tuzo, days later.
Ciarán MacAirt, a grandson of two of the victims, has taken a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office over PSNI’s failure to hand over information in state archives relating to:
(1) A secret agreement between the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and then Brigadier Frank Kitson which blamed the victims for the bombing hours after the explosion; Kitson informed British Army Brigade Headquarters at 1:00 am, 5th December 1971:
“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 Provisional IRA. Bomb went off and was a mistake. RUC press office have a line on it – NI should deal with them.”
(2) The Chief Constable of the RUC and head of Special Branch briefing the Northern Ireland Prime Minister and General Officer Commanding British Army with disinformation blaming the McGurk’s Bar victims at a Joint Security Committee Meeting in Stormont on 16th December 1971:
“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.”
Ciarán MacAirt said:
“It was very disappointing that Chief Constable Simon Byrne left our older family members out in the cold and chose not to meet us face-to-face two days before the 50th anniversary of the McGurk’s Bar Massacre and its cover-up by the RUC and British Army.”
“This is despite requests by our local political representatives at the Policing Board meeting that he come out and face us.”
“Unfortunately, this is the poor police service we have come to expect from successive Chief Constables beginning with Chief Constable Graham Shillington and his head of Special Branch who pinned the blame for the McGurk’s Bar Massacre on our loved ones.”
“Last year on the 49th anniversary of the massacre, I challenged the Chief Constable to prove the police lies. I challenge him again: hand over the evidence for these police lies or hold your hand up and admit that the RUC and British Army colluded to fabricate them.”
See the documents here: General Tuzo’s Christmas Message and the McGurk’s Bar