Belfast Telegraph

McGurk's Bar massacre: Matt Baggott will give long-awaited report to victims' families within fortnight

Historical Enquiries Team review into the UVF attack was completed last December but findings remained withheld from relatives of those killed

A report into one of Northern Ireland's worst terrorist atrocities is to be given to the victims' families within two weeks, the High Court heard today.

Counsel for Chief Constable Matt Baggott confirmed a finalised version of the Historical Enquiries Team review of the McGurk's Bar massacre is set to be disclosed.

The breakthrough comes just weeks before the 42nd anniversary of the loyalist bombing.

Fifteen people were murdered when the north Belfast pub was blown up by the Ulster Volunteer Force in December 1971.

An HET review of the police investigation into the bombing was completed last December.

But with detectives said to be pursuing further evidential leads, the findings remained withheld from relatives of those killed in the attack.

Judicial review proceedings were issued against the Chief Constable, claiming he has a public law duty to disclose the report without delay.

The legal challenge, brought by Bridget Irvine, whose mother Kitty was among those killed, contended that the ongoing failure to hand the dossier over is irrational, unlawful and in breach of their human rights.

Earlier this month a judge was told lawyers representing the PSNI were seeking more time to consider whether to release a redacted version.

In court today barrister Peter Coll revealed the new position.

He said: "The Chief Constable will issue a finalised version of the HET RSR (Review Summary Report) report to the applicants in respect of this matter.

"In terms of a timescale I'm told it might take two weeks to do that. One very much hopes it will happen sooner than that and, if it can, it will."

No reference was made to redactions being in the soon-to-be disclosed report.

After being informed Mr Justice Treacy listed the case for a further mention next month.

He told counsel for the victims' families: "Everything seems to be moving in the right direction as far as your clients are concerned."

Outside the court Ms Irvine's solicitor, Kevin Winters of KRW Law, said it was ironic that the news comes so close to the 42nd anniversary of the atrocity.

He added: "The families are deeply frustrated and agitated about the delay, but today's announcement that the report will be made available in two weeks time is not before time."

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