MoD Withholding Evidence of Covert British Army Operation

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) is withholding critical evidence regarding a covert British Military operation in the vicinity of McGurk’s Bar.

The MoD has failed to provide any further information relating to the discovery of a covert British Military operation close to McGurk’s Bar on the night of the explosion which claimed the lives of 15 civilians, including 2 children. 4th December 2020 was the 49th Anniversary of the atrocity.

Significantly, MoD did not deny the existence of the covert British Army operation that night even though it had previously told historic investigators there were no British military units in the area.

A grandson of two of the victims discovered the existence of British Army “ambush OP” [Observation Post] situated in York Street which may have had sight of the bombing and the escape of the bombers. This was a number of critical pieces of evidence either completely missed by historic investigations or buried by them. Read The McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Post-Script.

Covert British Army Operation Ambush OP Vicinity McGurk's Bar - MoD withholding evidence

Only that the British Army recorded an accidental discharge, the families may never have known of its existence.

C Company of 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment Fusiliers stationed at Glenravel reported:

“Accidental discharge in the York St ambush OP. 1 x 9mm [bullet] no cas [casualties] – REDACTION”

Ciarán MacAirt discovered the file and raised an immediate Freedom of Information (FOI) request as the families had long believed that the British Military was indeed watching the area at the time even though this had been denied by the British authorities for nearly half a century.

MacAirt asked the British MoD:

  • (1) The exact location of the OP as it may have watched as the bombers planted the bomb and then made their escape. He also demanded to know
  • (2) its operational orders as it was an offensive operation [and not a defensive observation post] so the British military anticipated trouble in the exact area of the explosion.
  • (3) which British Army unit manned the ambush OP. The resident Battalion was the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment Fusiliers (2 RRF) but MacAirt discovered proof that Britain’s covert Military Reaction Force (MRF) was operating with 2 RRF the night before on a similar operation close by.

MacAirt also provided information as to where this information could be easily found.

Nevertheless, the British Ministry of Defence responded:

“Despite and extensive search, we have been unable to locate any further information relating to the Observation Post and AMBUSH Op [operation] in Serial 33, Log sheet 3…”

Families Rubbish MoD Response

MacAirt immediately raised a complaint with the MoD as he considered the failure hard to believe. He said:

“Our families note for the record that the British Ministry of Defence – after nearly half a century – does not deny that it had a covert, British Army operation in place in the area when McGurk’s Bar was bombed. It is withholding information about its existence to this day, though.”

“I have pinpointed the basic British Military files where this information is retained.”

(1) “Firstly, the Serial itself contains redacted information which could point to the unit involved.”

(2) “Secondly, whilst basic, everyday files, the archives I directed MoD to are significant historical and training records for every British Army regiment. I believe that there is no way that these would be lost or destroyed as they are so important to a regiment. Furthermore, there were 15 civilians killed that same night and the regiment’s Major Jeremy Snow was mortally wounded. At the time, the McGurk’s Bar Massacre was the single greatest loss of civilian life in any murderous attack since the Nazi Blitz of Belfast; and Major Snow was the highest ranking fatality of the conflict.” [note: only a very small number of men of higher ranks were killed much later].

(3) “Finally, an accidental or negligent discharge was a serious British Military offence. Every incident had to be recorded in a pro forma and subsequent disciplinary. Again, this basic but significant information will be recorded and retained in regimental, Brigade and personnel files.”

“Considering the British MoD has been at the forefront of the McGurk’s Bar cover-up, I do not trust it now and raised a complaint which I intend to take to the Information Commissioner’s Office if required.”

“We also raised serious concerns with the Office of the Police Ombudsman that its investigators failed to discover the existence of this covert, offensive British Military operation in the vicinity of McGurk’s Bar along with other critical articles of evidence which call into serious question the veracity of its 2011 report.”

“At this stage of our campaign for truth and justice, we do not know where collusion ends, and incompetence begins.”

Read the New Reports

The McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Post-Script (PDF)

The McGurk’s Bar Bombing and the Plot To Deceive Two Parliaments (PDF)

Report in the Sunday World

Watch McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Post-Script

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