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McGurk's Bar

Families of victims of deadliest Belfast bombing of The Troubles say PSNI has 'questions to answer'

Fifteen people were killed when a bomb exploded in McGurk’s Bar in north Belfast in December 1971.

THE FAMILIES OF the victims of the deadliest bomb to hit Belfast during The Troubles have reacted angrily to the news that information on who carried out the attack was handed to the PSNI.

Fifteen people were killed when a bomb exploded in McGurk’s Bar in north Belfast in December 1971.

The attack was carried out by loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). During a sentencing hearing yesterday of PSNI informant Gary Haggarty at Belfast Laganside Courts, it was revealed that Haggarty had provided information to the PSNI several years ago, in relation to identifying the perpetrators.

The families say this information was not passed on to them or included in Historical Enquiries Team investigations into the bombing.

A statement from the families said that the PSNI was protecting the identities of perpetrators.

“Our clients have long alleged that the PSNI have sought to protect the identities of some or all of those involved, whom, following confirmation at an Information Tribunal hearing in London in December 2016, they know were state agents.

Our clients further allege this was done not only to protect these agents, but also to protect the reputation of the RUC, who contributed considerably to the cover-up which followed the bombing.

Niall Ó’Murchú of Madden & Finucane said:

“Given the serious implications that this is likely to have, we can confirm that we have today written to both the Chief Constable of the PSNI and the Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire, to obtain clarity about what their respective offices did, and didn’t do, in relation to these revelations.

“This is a matter of the utmost seriousness, and both OPONI and the PSNI have questions to answer.”

Gerard Keenan, whose parents Sarah and Edward Keenan were both murdered in the bombing said:

“This revelation that the PSNI recently had new and potentially important information about the McGurk’s Bar bombing is a shock. The Police Ombudsman had oversight of Gary Haggarty’s debrief interviews and should have known about this as well.”

Read: 69-year-old man arrested over Belfast bomb that killed 15 people in 1971

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