McGurk's Bar Bomb Micheál Martin

Micheál Martin

THE MCGURK’S Bar bomb massacre in Belfast in 1971 claimed 15 lives. In 2011 the Police Ombudsman NI reported that it had no evidence relating to the three vehicles driven by the killers. It emerged a few weeks ago that it had a fingerprint ledger with two prints from one of the cars, as well as prints from other pieces of evidence (see The Phoenix 25/8/23).

It is only possible to make sense of the atrocity if the UVF gang was a proxy unit of British intelligence originally deployed to strike another target, the Gem bar. The spooks believed the Gem was frequented by the Official IRA. The UVF gang was to deposit the bomb and slip away. The explosion was to be portrayed as the premature detonation of a device in transit to a target elsewhere. The UVF gang was forced to abandon the plan because guards were posted outside the Gem, so they left the bomb outside McGurk’s Bar instead. The ‘own goal’ propaganda prepared for the Gem was hastily rewritten for McGurk’s and the UVF gang slipped away to do the spooks’ bidding another day. The authorities have poisoned the well of truth ever since.

The UVF’s involvement emerged slowly. In 1977 Robert Campbell of the UVF confessed to the killing, was convicted and sent to prison. He is now dead. There were five terrorists, three of whom are alive and have never spent a day behind bars.

The victims’ families believe they were British agents and have asked the PSNI if it still has the prints. Alternatively, if they are missing, when and in what circumstances? If they still possessed them, had they been linked to any of the five UVF suspects?

The PSNI has just issued a “refusal decision” – no answers will be forthcoming. The prints must have been run through the system, so there could be a report, even if the original prints really are missing.

The UVF gang that bombed Dublin and Monaghan in 1974, killing 34, was led by Robin Jackson, an RUC special branch agent. The British government refuses to share its file on the atrocity with Dublin. Jackson also led the UVF gang behind the Miami Showband massacre.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has promised London that gardaí will co-operate fully with the judicial inquiry into the Real IRA bombing of Omagh, in which 29 were killed.

There is a discernible pattern here. If dirty tricks are present, there is a sham inquiry or none at all. If there is nothing for the spooks to hide, an investigation can take place. MI5 has nothing to fear over Omagh. That attack slipped through the security net due to RUC ineptitude. London is prepared nowadays to throw the RUC on to the chopping block.

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