Irish Republican News · October 24, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Victims to probe link between attacks

Relatives of those killed in the McGurk’s bar bombing in Belfast are to meet families of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan explosions after a possible link has emerged with those suspected of being involved in both bombings.

It comes after names of the suspects in the 1971 McGurk’s explosion were given to an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday during a visit to Belfast.

The official advised the Belfast relatives to get in touch with the Relatives of the Forgotten in Dublin.

Margaret Urwin of the Dublin group said names of some suspects in McGurk’s could possibly be linked with identities of those who carried out the Dublin and particularly the Monaghan outrages.

“I look forward to meeting with the relatives of McGurk’s,” she said.

Fifteen people died and 16 were injured when a UVF gang placed a bomb in the hallway of McGurk’s bar in North Queen Street on December 4 1971.

Like McGurk’s, there have been long standing allegations of British Army/RUC collusion with the UVF in the Dublin and Monaghan attacks and a number of other attacks in the 26 Counties.

It is widely believed that unionists who carried out the McGurk’s bombing were being pushed by British forces to create a feud between the then Provisional and Official IRA.

Relatives who lost loved ones in the bombing say that the original police investigation was “completely unacceptable”.

Following a meeting with the Police Ombudsman’s office in the North, the original investigation into the attack is being re-examined, including why a number of suspects whose names were given to RUC were never questioned.

The families also want an apology from the British government because in the aftermath of the bombing the RUC, British army and a cabinet minister blamed the IRA for the attack, falsely claiming it was an ‘own goal’.

Alex McLoughlin, whose father Thomas was murdered in McGurk’s and who will be part of a delegation, said he was pleased with the move.

“We were classed as families of bombers who bombed McGurk’s bar, because of the lies that others told. And this until Robert Campbell was arrested and still we have had no apology.”

“We have been campaigning for years and we feel we have been ignored in the past.. The truth has to be told.”

The McGurk attack was one of the deadliest atrocities of the Troubles and only the Omagh bomb claimed more lives in a single incident.

The people who died in the bar that night were: Philomena McGurk (46), Maria McGurk (14), James Cromie (13), John Colton (49), Thomas McLoughlin (55), David Milligan (52), James Smyth (58), Francis Bradley (61), Thomas Kane (49), Kathleen Irvine (53), Philip Garry (75), Edward Kane (29), Edward Keenan (69), Sarah Keenan (58) and Robert Spotswood (38).

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© 2005 Irish Republican News