The British Ministry of Defence (MOD) has denied it holds information relating to a secret agreement between General Sir Frank Kitson and the Royal Ulster Constabulary to promote lies about the McGurk’s Bar Massacre.
The MOD denial is despite a record of it in the British Army’s Commander’s Diary just hours after the explosion.
A grandson of two of the McGurk’s Bar Massacre victims, Ciarán MacAirt, raised a Freedom of Information request with MoD for a:
‘…copy of the notes, minutes, intelligence and/or background information relating to the agreement between then Brigadier Frank Kitson and the Royal Ulster Constabulary which led to the Brigadier Kitson telling Brigade:
“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.”’
MacAirt then raised a request for Internal Review as MoD failed to find any information. In its final response (10.12.21), MoD concluded:
“… that the outcome of the original response was correct in stating that the requested information is not held by MOD” [Section 8]
MacAirt has raised a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on 13.12.2021 and referred ICO to a similar complaint with its Office against the Police Service Northern Ireland for withholding evidence relating to these RUC and British Army lies.
On 2nd December 2021, MacAirt led a protest at the NI Policing Board against the PSNI’s failure to provide the families with the evidence – PSNI had issued MacAirt with a Refusal Notice which recorded that PSNI “can neither confirm nor deny that it holds the information” (20.4.21). The Chief Constable then snubbed the families at the protest and would not talk with them.
“Kitson’s agreement to promote the RUC lies about our loved ones was recorded just over 4 hours after the explosion and long before all of the victims had even been identified. This is the first recording of the McGurk’s Bar Massacre lies in secret British files and I challenged PSNI and MOD to prove their origin.”
“We know that the PSNI is refusing to either confirm or deny it has the information and the Chief Constable is hiding from us. We now know too that MOD is denying it holds the information, so it has either buried it or MOD is blaming the RUC for the lies.”
“I have been forced to take a complaint against both PSNI and MOD to the Information Commissioner’s Office as it is disgraceful that the British Armed Forces are still withholding such critical evidence in the murder of 15 innocent civilians after half a century.”
“Either the British Armed Forces can prove their lies about our loved ones, or they admit they fabricated them. It is that simple.”