McGurk’s Bar Families in Court as Amnesty International Slams Failure to Deal with the Past

This morning (12th September 2013), families of those who were murdered in the McGurk’s Bar bombing of 4th December 1971 will be in Belfast’s High Court to begin legal proceedings against the Chief Constable and his decision to block the release of an Historical Enquiries Team (HET) report into the atrocity.


McGurk's Bar campaigners meet with Amnesty International in June 2012
McGurk’s Bar campaigners meet with Amnesty International in June 2012

At the same time in The Mac, St Anne’s Square, Amnesty International will be releasing a report which slams the failure to deal with the past in Northern Ireland. The McGurk’s Bar bombing features in its hard-hitting report and some family members will be there to receive it.

Ciarán MacAirt, grandson of Kathleen Irvine who was murdered in McGurk’s Bar, said:

“We met with Amnesty International over a year ago when they were researching their report, Northern Ireland: Time to Deal with the Past. We presented our evidence to them and shared our experiences, including how we have been treated by the present Chief Constable and his Historical Enquiries Team. By that stage we had waited patiently for the HET to finish its review of the McGurk’s Bar bombing for over six years. “

“Subsequently in late 2012, the HET told us that its review was completed but, nearly a year later, the Chief Constable of the PSNI still will not hand it over to our families.”

“It is ironic and quite sad that we have since been forced to bring the Chief Constable to court to try to gain access to this HET review on the same day that Amnesty International releases its hard-hitting report.”

“It is also an horrific indictment of the state’s failure to give families on all sides who lost loved ones during the conflict even the semblance of truth and justice.”

Further information: The families’ court appearance this morning is a High Court application for leave to apply for a Judicial Review of the Chief Constable’s decision to withhold the HET report. KRW Law (Kevin Winters Solicitors) act on behalf of the families whose loved ones were murdered in the McGurk’s Bar massacre of 4th December 1971. Fifteen innocent civilians – men, women and children – were murdered. The HET began investigating the McGurk’s Bar atrocity in March 2006 and told the families that it had completed its review in December 2012. The families have recently lodged complaints with the Police Ombudsman and the Policing Board regarding the Chief Constable’s failure to hand over the HET report. This article has been released on behalf of the McGurk’s Bar Commemoration Committee.

Information for the Media: For further information, telephone Robert McClenaghan 07752 500 513 or email Ciarán MacAirt at

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