Gerard Keenan… In Their Footsteps

By Gerard Keenan, son of Edward and Sarah Keenan who were murdered in the McGurk’s Bar massacre on 4th December 1971.

A pair of shoes on a pavement and a note…

It is a striking image.

I will leave two pairs of old shoes and two notes for my parents as I lost both.

Gerard's parents, Sarah and Edward Keenan
Gerard’s parents, Sarah and Edward Keenan

4th December 1971 is a day I will never forget as it was the day when we were last together as a family.

My father Ned had just retired from working in the docks all his life, and him and my mother Sarah were shopping for Christmas and a surprise party they were planning the following day.

They called into McGurk’s Bar for a quick drink on their way home.

I was with two of my brothers in the house that night when the bomb went off. We did not know our mum and dad were in the bar that night.

When we heard the explosion I ran straight to the barrack wall and I discovered that it was McGurk’s Bar. The sight I saw is imbedded in my mind.

It was not until the early hours of the morning that we heard the horrible news that tore our family apart. Our family has never been the same from that moment.

What made it worse were the lies that blamed our loved ones for the bomb. Still to this day, those in the establishment, including those who represent the law, defend the lies.

So, more than 42 years later that is why I stand shoulder to shoulder with other family members as we all have a right to the truth. It is our basic human right and how dare these states withhold it from us.

On the 14th of June I will walk in memory of my mother and father and in their footsteps, and I will stand with other families from across this little land of ours to ask for one thing: set the truth free.

By Gerard Keenan

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