Baggott urged to resign
Baggott urged to resign

There is pressure on the PSNI police chief Matt Baggott to resign following his abject failure to apologise for the force’s lies about those killed in the McGurk’s Bar massacre.

The 1971 bombing was carried out by the unionist paramilitary UVF, but had been presented by the RUC (now PSNI) as an ‘own goal’ by the IRA, prompting speculation the dead may have included IRA Volunteers who were carrying or preparing the device.

In a report last month, the Police Ombudsman suggested the RUC was guilty only of “investigative bias”, and not of direct collusion with the UVF.

Hopes by the families that a wrong had been righted were effectively ruined by Baggott’s refusal to apologise for the RUC investigative bias, as the report had suggested.

His response had set back nationalist confidence in the PSNI, according to Policing Board member Alex Maskey.

Mr Maskey’s comments came amid criticism that Baggott has fully ‘gone native’ in support of former RUC Special Branchmen.

“I do believe that those remarks have set back the jobs of work of building confidence in the nationalist and republican communities. I don’t know whether you can put it in years but you’ve certainly set it back,” Mr Maskey told a meeting of the Policing Board.

The Sinn Fein man told Baggott he needed to consider whether he wanted to be part of the future of policing.

Pensioner Alex McLaughlin said the day of the release of the Ombudsman’s report, which should have been a momentous occasion for the McGurk’s families, was turned into a “slap on the face” from the PSNI.

Mr McLaughlin whose 55-year-old father Thomas was killed in the atrocity which claimed the lives of 15 people, said his beloved mother Anne never got over the horrific death of her much-loved husband and father of her eight children.

The McLaughlin family lived in Ardilea Street in the Bone at the time of the bomb. Alex was 29 years old. His two younger brothers had rushed to the scene to help dig through the rubble after the news broke that a bomb had gone off. His brother Peter had to identify his father’s body.

Anne McLaughlin died in 1997 never seeing her husband’s name cleared or a retraction of the allegations against those who died.

“It practically finished my mother, like it did the rest of the families.

“It was bad enough the loss but afterwards with the lies getting told and no matter how much we tried to counteract them there was nothing we could get done, it was just doors slamming in our faces.”

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© 2011 Irish Republican News