The RUC did not help in the aftermath of the McGurk’s bar bomb

A letter from Sam Irvine:

By Letters
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 12:47 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 12:53 am
Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

May I be allowed space in your columns to respond to a letter from Mr Kenny Donaldson of SEFF (‘Fifty years ago Northern Ireland was in the early phase of three decades of killings that never needed to happen,’ January 28, see link below).

I was quickly at the scene of the McGurk’s bar explosion, in which my mother Kathleen was killed. Along with people from the area I immediately began digging at the rubble to free those trapped underneath.

We were then joined by members of British army patrols who also tore at the wreckage. Mr Donaldson says that the RUC helped in the rescue. That isn’t true.

At no point in the time I was there did I see even one member of the RUC ... they just weren’t there.

Mr Donaldson stresses that Paddy McGurk (the bar owner) thanked the RUC for their help in the rescue. I know Paddy was thankful afterwards (as were all who were saved) to all who helped but Paddy was buried under the rubble and when rescued would have been immediately taken to hospital. He would have been unawares as to his surroundings and also who was present.

It was also pitch dark with only the lights from army and ambulance vehicles helping the rescuers. I don’t know how long I stayed there but I can honestly say that I didn’t see any RUC.

To me Mr Donaldson’s letter reeks of whataboutery in a reverse psychological way.

At a time when the RUC has been put in the gutter (again) by the ombudsman’s report (Ormeau Rd bookies massacre) I think he attempts to shine a halo of light on a completely discredited force at the expense of the McGurk’s atrocity and it’s victims.

Let’s not forget that the RUC were quick to discredit the victims even before they were identified.

The RUC lied when it stated that the bomb was inside the bar. The RUC victimised the victims.

Mr Donaldson reveals that the RUC officer brought home pictures of the dead of our loved ones and left them in an unsecure place to be found by anyone, in this case a child, which begs the question who else shared these images and for what purpose?

Again remember that the RUC was spreading lies about our loved ones at this time. Recently we have learned of security force members using the personal items from victims of Ballymurphy as spoils of war.

We also know of the montages of innocent people have in the past been over to paramilitaries by the security forces.

Why were pictures of my mother Kathleen and the other victims in the house of the policeman to whom Mr Donaldson refers?

What else did he and his colleagues bring home? Does this still happen today?

Finally I would ask Mr Donaldson that in any future reference to victims that he please study the circumstances of their deaths .

Sam Irvine, Belfast BT15

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