Doug Beattie and the Ulster Unionist Party remain silent on the McGurk's Bar cover-up.
Commemoration is difficult and we have a year of difficult 50th-anniversary commemorations ahead for thousands of families this year. Many organisations and people, including former combatants have much to consider too - be they people who served in uniform or otherwise. There is time for reflection by political parties as well, and not only because there are elections to come and it is easier to peddle fear and bigotry for some. Politics is hard too but sometimes so hypocritical that we need to stop and test it - which brings me to Doug Beattie and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).
For some, Mr. Beattie is the face of liberal Unionism and the new UUP.
Even today, he's making all the right noises in public.
He even manages to navigate the difficult and treacherous minefield of commemoration oft-times. I also believe it is to his credit that he knows that it is a minefield but still treads it.
That may have hit a kerb recently because of past social media usage, but it was his recent tweets that made me stop and test what he wants to project.
Unfortunately, I believe that he and his party have failed miserably regards the McGurk's Bar Massacre and its cover-up which highlights how hypocritical some of his utterances are.
This has little to do with the timeliness of his commemoration of the McGurk's Bar Massacre (7 days late). It has even little to do with the fact that UUP was up to its neck in the McGurk's Bar cover-up.
My concern was shabby political point-scoring and a lack of historical self-awareness.
So, I contacted Doug Beattie in December and asked for UUP Help. None was forthcoming and I did not get a response.
So, I contacted UUP party offices on Christmas Eve, but again did not get a response.
It may be that our email servers have let us down so I'm publishing these here so we can compare what is said in public with what is not said in private (and I would have been happy to deal with this in private).
Doug Beattie and UUP have failed to engage with what should be a simple query.
Or perhaps their omerta speaks volumes regarding UUP's reign of the rotten statelet, its internment of Irish Catholics, and the cover-up of the McGurk's Bar Massacre in 1971.
I do not believe in the myth of blamelessness regarding any side, but political leaders should be mindful that a heady mix of hypocritical politicking and meaningful commemoration are not welcome to families - especially if these political leaders are not willing to practise what they pontificate.
Email To Doug Beattie, 13th December 2021
(My typos corrected and tweets added)
SUBJECT - Re: UUP Help
Dear Mr. Beattie,
Thank you for your kind remembrance of our family members a week after the 50th anniversary. It was much appreciated albeit problematic for me at the same time.
You may have missed my response as you did not respond.
The active involvement of your predecessor as leader of UUP, Brian Faulkner, and former UUP Minister of State, John Taylor, in the dissemination of lies in the aftermath of the McGurk’s Bar Massacre is germane to our Campaign for Truth.
Are you, as leader of UUP, able to help our families and offer us information relating to the UUP and the McGurk’s Bar Massacre from the period?
For example, aside from Lord Kilclooney’s well-publicized dissemination of lies regarding McGurk’s Bar over many years (and I know he is no longer UUP), UUP leaders became involved in the cover-up in a number of key instances including:
- Prime Minister Faulkner’s report to the British Home Secretary, 6th December 1971 (link)
- Joint Security Committee Meeting 16th December 1971 when the Chief Constable and Head of Special Branch lied directly to Prime Minister Faulkner and John Taylor (link)
Does UUP hold any information from the period that can help us uncover whether UUP leaders were manipulated by the RUC and British Army or were they active participants in the McGurk’s Bar lies?
We are conscious that Internment and EEC voting may have been important considerations for UUP at the time.
Referring back to your tweet, I agree with you that all families deserve truth and justice – I think it’s a basic human right too. I believe your family deserves exactly the same right as mine, and I remember your uncle, Samuel, specifically when I write this. We were diminished by the loss of every human being during the conflict.
You can help our families, even (1) if it is by asking party officers and researchers to search UUP files and speak with older members from the period.
It would also be very helpful for our families (2) if we receive an official response from UUP regarding its involvement in the McGurk’s Bar cover-up 50 years ago – the party was either actively involved in the cover-up or duped by the lies of the British Armed Forces.
I note that you questioned the silence of another party yesterday. I hope I do not have to question your party’s silence in our case.
Email to UUP, 24th December 2021
Sent: 24 December 2021 11:58
To: 'firstname.lastname@example.org' <email@example.com>
Cc: 'firstname.lastname@example.org' <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: UUP Help
Good morning, please see below to the party leader. I don’t think I’ve received a response although I understand how busy you all are – apologies if I have.
I would be keen to get a response, please, as senior Unionist Party leaders helped promulgate the British Armed Forces’ disinformation regarding the McGurk’s Bar Massacre in 1971/2. Any information the party has regarding this, could be critical evidence for our families’ Campaign for Truth.
For example, we have archival proof that the RUC lied directly to these senior officials (links below). Either UUP leadership knew the lies were false or were duped by them and thereafter helped promote them.
Any related information from the period could be useful – even if it does not seem so to your party today.
Could you confirm that you have received this email, please?
Thank you in advance for your time. I hope you and yours have a lovely Christmas.
Is mise le meas,
As of 19th February 2022, we await a substantive response.