Irish Republican News · November 12, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
British fear future generations of justice campaigners


A British Army file relating to the McGurk’s Bar massacre will be a state secret until 2056, it has emerged.

Fifteen people died when a loyalist bomb exploded at the bar in a nationalist part of Belfast in December 1971. In the hours after the attack, British Crown forces blamed the IRA despite knowing that claim to be untrue.

Ciaran Mac Airt, author of The McGurk’s Bar Bombing, Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for Truth, said he made a request under Freedom of Information legislation for a file from British army headquarters in Ireland relating to the death of his grandmother, Kitty Irvine.

He believes the document, held by the National Archives in London, could shed more light on the knowledge that the RUC police had about the bombing shortly after the attack.

“There was an RUC liaison officer who worked at the army headquarters. The Chief Constable would have been aware of a log of that nature.”

However, the response stated that the file is being withheld due to “health and safety” and “personal information”. It adds that the record is closed, and is not due to be opened until January 1 2056.

Last week, it was revealed that one secret document had been retrieved which finally proved the British army knew the bomb had been placed at the entrance of the bar as opposed to inside it, indicating the attack was not an IRA ‘own goal’ as they claimed at the time. The information was listed in the file as “Not for PR”, to indicate it was not to be made public.

Mr Mac Airt is due to appear at an independent tribunal hearing in London next month as part of attempts to have the closed file released.

He said: “I will be being grilled for two days, which is longer than suspects in the actual bombing were questioned for. I’ll be being asked questions on a file which I haven’t read but that everyone else in the court has.

“It is not justifiable that 45 years later we can’t get this information. It is less to do with national security and more to do with national shame.

“The British army and police knew full well that the bar had been attacked and that it wasn’t down to the people in the bar.

“They are not banking on children and grandchildren of relatives following things up.”

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