Relatives of bomb victims launch legal action

PSNI Chief constable George Hamilton. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PSNI Chief constable George Hamilton. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
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Relatives of people killed in a notorious Belfast bomb attack have begun a legal challenge against the chief constable’s decision not to order an independent investigation into the atrocity.

Fifteen people were killed in the blast at McGurk’s Bar in December 1971.

The bombing was carried out by the UVF but at the time security forces blamed the IRA, prompting speculation that the dead might have included IRA members who were carrying the device.

The families’ decision to begin judicial review proceedings comes after relatives and campaigners discovered new evidence.

Te families said they are taking legal action against outgoing Chief Constable George Hamilton over his failure to order a fresh investigation, including the questioning of former senior Army officer Sir Frank Kitson.

The former commander-in-chief, UK Land Forces, was brigadier in charge of the armed forces in Belfast at time of the bombing.

The families claim the discovery of the new evidence shows that the former senior officer and the RUC were involved in a cover-up.

The victims’ relatives have called for Mr Hamilton to order an independent investigation into the massacre.

Ciaran MacAirt, a grandson of two of the victims, discovered an entry in a log book dated December 5 1971 which claimed that the bomb was to be picked up by the Provisional IRA.

Mr MacAirt said: “The police continue to cover up the McGurk’s Bar massacre and we now have a better understanding why.

“Secret British military documents lead us to believe that General Sir Frank Kitson and the RUC colluded to frame my grandmother and the other victims for the atrocity.”