Irish Republican News · August 2, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
McGurk’s families challenge HET secrecy


Relatives of those killed in the McGurk’s Bar bombing have called on the PSNI police to release the findings of an investigation by their Historical Enquiries Team into the UVF atrocity.

Several families have lodged a High Court action aimed at forcing the PSNI to hand over the report that was concluded last December. They say PSNI Chief Matt Baggott has blocked its release.

The bombing of the north Belfast pub on December 4 1971 killed 15 men, women and children. The then RUC originally briefed the media that the bomb had gone off from inside the bar and was an IRA ‘own goal’.

The campaigners handed in a letter of complaint to the Policing Board headquarters yesterday. They have also lodged an official complaint with the Police Ombudsman about the delays.

Campaigner Ciaran Mac Airt, whose grandmother Kathleen Irvine was one of the victims, said the families “reluctantly” took the decision to initiate court proceedings.

“The chief constable has done a total turn-around on what he told us in 2011 when he claimed there were no further investigative opportunities open to police,” he said.

As Mr Baggott entered the board’s headquarters he was challenged by campaigner Robert McClenaghan who asked him why he was withholding information contained in the HET report.

“Many of our relatives are now elderly and have fought long and hard. Time is running out. We have been told this report was completed last December so why continue to keep it from us?” he asked.

Mr Baggott denied withholding the report and claimed he was following procedure.

Mr Mac Airt said: “The state and its security forces conspired to criminalise our loved ones when they fabricated a story that the bomb was in transit and that customers were being schooled in bomb-making.

“To clear their good names our families have been forced to campaign against police lies and intransigence for two generations.

“By blocking the release of the HET report into the death of our loved ones, the chief constable of the reformed Police Service of Northern Ireland is quite simply retraumatising our family members.

“Our families have suffered enough.”

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