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Relatives of McGurk bar atrocity hit out after paint attack on memorial

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 12/06/2015

The paint-spattered McGurk’s Bar memorial
The paint-spattered McGurk’s Bar memorial

Sectarian thugs who attacked a memorial for the victims of Belfast's deadliest bomb attack have been branded mindless.

Paint was thrown over the plaque remembering 15 innocent civilians killed when the blast ripped through McGurk's Bar in December 1971.

Police are treating the incident as a hate crime.

The bombing at North Queen Street was carried out by the UVF, but had initially been presented by the police as an accidental "own goal" by the IRA.

Robert McClenaghan, whose 73-year-old grandfather Phillip Garry was the oldest person killed, said: "I am almost in tears to hear that our memorial has been desecrated. It is something that is symbolic of our campaign.

"Our loved ones lost their lives and within hours they lost their reputation after being falsely accused of making the bomb. We are just trying to get the truth for them and part of that is the memorial.

"I just don't understand the politics of throwing paint on it. It is just mindless and senseless that somebody would do that."

Ciaran MacAirt, whose grandmother Kathleen Irvine also died in the bomb attack, used Twitter to express his disgust.

He said: "If word that the #McGurks Bar memorial has been attacked is true, it is a despicable act and the hoods who did it have shamed their families."

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