The Chief Constable’s failure to quash a PSNI-HET report into the atrocity which the High Court ruled was “irrational” is another insult to our families.
I post this hours before a Judicial Review case against the Chief Constable and Police Service Northern Ireland that has lasted seven years – the families demanded that PSNI quashed a failed report into the atrocity by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) despite the fact we had to fight PSNI for two years before that to access it. We knew it would be a whitewash but had to battle for its release first before we could demolish it.
The families contended that this report failed to account for a mountain of evidence discovered by the families and our supporters (including Pat Finucane Centre and British Irish Rights Watch). HET had also placed undue weight on nonsense intelligence which was fabricated at the time by the British armed forces.
This included lies concocted by the RUC and British Army that the atrocity was the result of a Republican own-goal and our loved ones blew themselves up.
Taken together, the families contended that the HET report was “irrational” and yet another attempt by the police to cover up the true circumstances of the massacre just as its predecessors in RUC did in 1971.
On 19th May 2022 at the High Court, the families learned that the PSNI had finally conceded that the PSNI/Historical Enquiries Team’s finding of no bias in the original Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) investigation is “irrational” and therefore unlawful.
Whilst this was a tremendous victory and vindication for the families, we demanded that the report is quashed; PSNI still contended that police deletions in the irrational report would suffice.
Presiding judge at the High Court, Mr. Justice Humphreys, made it clear at the hearing that the full version of the current HET report cannot remain but adjourned until 16th June to give both legal teams time to agree a settlement.
The families are resolute that the failed, irrational report should be quashed immediately.
We also called for Chief Constable Simon Byrne to do the right thing – finally – and quash the report rather than dragging our families into another court hearing which will do nothing but retraumatize them.
At the time of writing this and to the best of my knowledge, the Chief Constable has failed yet again and follows a long line of Chief Constables who have tried to deny and delay our families’ fight for truth and justice.
The PSNI to this very day is withholding evidence relating to the bombing, its perpetrators, and the secret agreement between the British Army and RUC to cover up for them and blame our loved ones.
Regardless of where collusion ends and incompetence begins in Byrne’s PSNI, our families are resolute that the failed, irrational report by HET must be quashed.
And PSNI has much to fear if it is not as it cannot stand as the PSNI left it – filleted and irrational.
If it is to be re-investigated, not only do the historic investigators have to attend to the evidence we had discovered and provided to them by the commencement of the Judicial Review in 2014, but I have discovered much, much more in the intervening years.
This new evidence over the last seven years includes proof that:
- The British Army and RUC knew that the seat of the explosion was outside the main bar – exactly where a witness saw the bomber place and light it (link)
- There were a number of British Army observation posts with oversight of the area despite denials by the British armed forces that there were any. These included a covert “ambush OP” in the immediate area which was never disclosed (link)
- The British Army had raided the Gem Bar – the original target for the bombers – less than 48 hours before the UVF targeted it (link)
- The British Army and RUC had considered the Gem Bar was the original target within minutes but this was denied by every investigation (link)
- The British armed forces had the details of a suspect car within minutes, recorded one leaving the scene and found 2 prints on an abandoned car which RUC tied to the explosion (link)
- The British armed forces had recorded but buried the statement of another eye-witness whose description of the car proved correct (link)
- There was a high-level, coordinated and sustained plot to deceive the two parliaments of Westminster and Stormont about the true circumstances of the massacre and its perpetrators (link); and, most damaging
- The McGurk’s Bar disinformation and cover-up can be traced back to collusion between the British Army and RUC just hours after the explosion when the infamous Brigadier Frank Kitson ordered his Brigade staff to follow an agreed RUC “line” that the bombing was the result of an IRA own-goal (link)
My battles for these have since resulted in a number of unresolved complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office against the PSNI, Office of the Police Ombudsman and Ministry of Defence.
I have also raised a complaint against the British Cabinet Office which is being investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman in London.
PSNI has proven that it is withholding evidence to this day too, which takes me to another salient question: this failed, irrational and illegal report was compiled by HET so who will complete it if the judge rules it?
The HET has since been pulled down in ignominy due to its discrimination and abject failures in scores of other legacy cases so it cannot complete its failed investigation. It does not exist.
The families are also adamant that PSNI cannot either as it has proved it is not independent and is actively attempting to thwart our campaign for truth and justice.
I would go further – PSNI is up to its neck in the McGurk’s Bar cover-up and the dirty cops of RUC/PSNI should be nowhere near any legacy case. They cannot be trusted.
This may point to our next battle - one for an independent investigation by an outside police force or a public inquiry.
It was a swift hearing as the legal teams found no resolution - even though the court has found that PSNI/HET's report is irrational and therefore illegal, PSNI will not quash it. Despicable. The judge will have to rule on it and he says he will aim to do that before the end of this court period as he knows that our families have been waiting a long time.
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