Belfast Telegraph

Beattie accuses Pat Finucane Centre of RUC 'smear' over bomb attack

RUC badge (stock photo)
RUC badge (stock photo)

An Ulster Unionist MLA has accused the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) of a "sickening and abhorrent" attempt to smear the RUC by attributing a loyalist attack on a bar during the Troubles to the force.

In a Tweet on Wednesday, the Pat Finucane Centre publicised a screening of the Glenanne Gang documentary Unquiet Graves at the Rock Bar in Granemore, Co Armagh, stating the pub "survived an RUC bomb and gun attack" in 1976.

On June 5, 1976, loyalists - believed to be members of the Glenanne Gang - threw a bomb into a bar filled with customers and shot through the windows.

The bomb only partially exploded and no one in the pub was injured, however one customer outside was shot and wounded.

It later emerged that three of those who carried out the attack were serving members of the RUC.

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said those responsible were "terrorists, nothing more, nothing less" and the PFC's comment was a "disgraceful slur".

"The attack was investigated by the RUC and evidence was sought to secure convictions for those responsible," he added.

"There is no doubt that during the course of the Troubles a very small number of police officers broke the law and disgraced the force. This is true of any profession – be it doctors, teachers, accountants or lawyers.

“It is very clear to me that the campaign to rewrite the history of the Troubles is gathering pace and that part of that agenda is served by republican organisations and individuals seeking to portray the RUC as the villains of the peace. I say again, this cannot be allowed to happen."

PFC spokesperson Alan Brecknell defended the post, stating RUC officers were involved in the attack.

UUP MLA Doug Beattie condemned the post
UUP MLA Doug Beattie condemned the post

“At no point does Doug Beattie MLA actually mention that the gun and bomb attack on the Rock Bar was conceived and carried out in its entirety by serving members of the RUC, that a police vehicle and radios were involved, that one of those responsible was actually on duty and that one of those involved took statements from survivors in the aftermath," he said.

"Only one officer received a custodial sentence with the others receiving suspended sentences from a trial judge who admitted that sentences would be 'on a lower scale' because these were police officers trying ‘to rid the land of pestilence’.

"He correctly points to the sacrifice made by many RUC officers and on this we have no disagreement."

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