Belfast bomb massacre bar McGurk's 'drinking hole for IRA sympathisers', claims unionist peer Kilclooney
A former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist party has said he has nothing to apologise for after saying a bar targeted by loyalist paramilitaries was a "drinking hole for IRA sympathisers".
On Monday evening Lord John Kilclooney tweeted about the McGurk's Bar Bombing, saying there had been a "political campaign to place the blame on the UVF", adding he had "never received evidence to support this".
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The December 1971 bombing of McGurk's bar in north Belfast killed 15 people, making it one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles.
Lord Kilclooney, now a cross bench peer, was a minister of state at the time of the attack.
UVF member Robert Campbell was arrested in 1977 and admitted his part in the bombing.
On Tuesday morning, Lord Kilclooney tweeted: "My advice from the security forces when I was Minister was that this bomb was by the IRA. Shortly afterwards I was no longer Minister and had no responsibility or more information. I do not apologise for something over which I have no responsibility."
Terrorist Bomb at McGurks Bar. My advice from the security forces when I was Minister was that this bomb was by the IRA. Shortly afterwards I was no longer Minister and had no responsibility or more information. I do not apologise for something over which I have no responsibility— Lord John Kilclooney (@KilclooneyJohn) April 3, 2018
Relatives of the victims of the bombing have claimed there was a deliberate campaign of disinformation started by the RUC and British Government to claim the attack could have been an 'own goal' by the IRA, and there may have been suspicion for the attack on the victims inside the bar.
In February last year family members of those killed in the attack travelled to Dublin to present information to the Dail's Justice and Equality Committee on the attack.
Speaking to the Irish News, who first reported the story, Pat Irvine - whose mother Kathleen Irvine was killed in the attack - said: "I'm actually disgusted with him, that he's so blatant with his hatred and bitterness."
In October 2017, Lord Kilclooney sparked controversy after saying a vote for a united Ireland by a small margin could cause a civil war.
In November, Lord Kilclooney's was criticised for comments online in which he referred to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as 'the Indian'.
Belfast Telegraph Digital