New website as McGurk’s Bar campaign turns 50

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For the 50th anniversary of the McGurk’s bar massacre, victims’ families have launched a new website which commemorates those who died, the survivors and their families, and will be the platform to their fight for the truth.

In the lead up to the anniversary, they are publishing new evidence and articles to expose the major British state cover-up that took place.

The unionist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) blew up McGurk’s bar in Belfast on 4 December 1971. It murdered 15 innocent people and injured more than 16.

British authorities blamed the IRA, falsely claiming it was their bomb which detonated prematurely en route to its intended target.

Evidence has mounted that this assertion was a deliberate lie from the outset. Newly uncovered documents have revealed that a top British army commander, GOC Harry Tuzo, lied about his knowledge of the bombing in a newspaper article just two weeks after the incident. Campaigners say this is the first instance of that commander lying about the McGurk’s bar bombing.

Ciaran Mac Airt, a researcher, a justice campaigner and grandson of two of the McGurk’s Bar victims, has uncovered evidence that implicates Tuzo in the cover-up.

“The British Army and its leaders including Lt. General Sir Harry Tuzo and Brigadier Frank Kitson knew that the bomb was placed outside the bar and the bar was attacked. They knew that the innocent victims were not to blame.

“So, when Tuzo offered his Christmas message at the press conference on 20th December 1971 and he spoke about the McGurk’s Bar Massacre, he was lying.

“Lt. General Sir Harry Tuzo is as much in the frame for the cover-up of the McGurk’s Bar Massacre as his subordinate, Frank Kitson.

“The truth will not remained buried.”

Long before the British government proposed an amnesty for its war criminals, campaigners believed British authorities had been hiding the truth behind Britain’s involvement in the conflict. Mr Mac Airt said it was “horrific to consider that before we buried our loved ones on cold days in December 1971, the British state buried the truth.”

He added: “The new website is a timely reminder too that our Campaign for Truth is ongoing even after 50 years, as the British authorities – including the Office of Police Ombudsman, Police Service Northern Ireland, Ministry of Defence and Cabinet Office – are withholding evidence from our families to this very day. We will prove this over the coming weeks.”

The site also includes work from award-winning Belfast artist Sinéad O’Neill-Nicholl. The artist started a sound installation project where she’s recording “the lived experiences” of the families in the aftermath of the massacre.

O’Neill-Nicholl’s project is called Never the Same. The installation, at the site of the explosion, currently features recordings of the families’ personal memories around grief and loss, which visitors can listen to whilst at the McGurk’s Bar memorial.

The 50th anniversary commemoration takes place at 7pm on Saturday, December 4, at the McGurk’s Bar mural in Belfast at the junction of North Queen Street and Great George’s Street.

You can visit the new website at https://mcgurksbar.com

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