Irish Republican News · December 7, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Bomb cover-up reached highest level

A classified document that details a meeting between former Six-County prime minister Brian Faulkner and British Home Secretary Reginald Maudling shows that a cover-up around the McGurk’s bar bombing went right to the top of the government.

The meeting took place in Whitehall in London on December 6 1971, two days after 15 innocent people - including women and children - lost their lives as a result of the loyalist massacre in north Belfast.

It was the single biggest loss of life in the North prior to the Omagh bombing in 1998.

At the time it was claimed that the attack was an IRA ‘own goal’, with an alleged bomb exploding prematurely in the bar.

It has already been revealed that reports by British Army experts -- who established within hours that the bomb had been placed at the building’s entrance rather than inside -- were suppressed.

However, the latest documents uncovered by the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry suggest that Faulkner misled the British government, claiming the bomb had exploded on the ground floor of the bar, and that intelligence pointed to the “IRA rather than Protestant extremists” as being behind the attack.

He had also asked the RUC police to dig up any information it could on the bombing victims in order to connect them with republicans. Faulkner said he had instructed police to find out “whether anything was known about the associations of the people who were killed and injured”.

Campaigner Ciaran Mac Airt - whose grandmother Kitty Irvine was one of those killed in the blast - said the revelations demonstrated the top-level nature of the conspiracy.

“Not only is Faulkner on record lying to the British home secretary that the bomb was an IRA own goal but its also a glaring admission of political interference in a police investigation,” he said.

“The complete innocence of the 15 men, women and children meant nothing to him against upholding the discriminatory internment policy.”

It was previously reported how Faulkner advised the British government not to intern loyalist paramilitaries at the time. Following the introduction of special powers in August 1971, the Unionist prime minister told the British government that loyalists were not a serious threat. No loyalist paramilitaries were interned until 1973, when they had already killed more than 100 people.

“It shows Faulkner could not allow the blame for the bar bombing to lie with loyalists,” Mr Mac Airt said. “To do so would have revealed his deliberate deception about the seriousness of the threat posed by loyalist gangs.”

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