Belfast Telegraph

Files prove Army knew McGurk's bomb not IRA own goal: lawyer

By Michael McHugh

Newly discovered documents show the Army knew the bomb that exploded at McGurk's Bar was placed outside it, a solicitor has said.

Relatives of the 15 killed in the atrocity have applied to Attorney General John Larkin for a fresh inquest to dismiss rumours that an IRA device exploded by mistake inside the crowded pub.

Log sheets provide clear evidence that the military technical officer who examined the scene was convinced from the outset that the explosive had been left in the entranceway, their lawyer Padraig O Muirigh said.

"It is now well established that the rumours of an IRA own goal were entirely untrue," Mr O Muirigh said.

Fifteen people died in the attack on December 4 1971, the worst Troubles atrocity prior to the Dublin-Monaghan bombings of May 17, 1974.

A Police Ombudsman inquiry said the original investigation had a clear predisposition to the erroneous IRA own goal theory.

The watchdog found loyalist terrorists were responsible. Mr O Muirigh said there remained uncertainty about how the victims met their deaths and whether there was collusion between security forces and the UVF.

The Ombudsman's report said there was no collusion involving the RUC.

Mr O Muirigh added: "The recently discovered HQ NI log sheets of the 4th and 5th December 1971, discovered by Ciaran MacAirt of Papertrail, provide clear evidence that the Army technical officer who examined the scene was convinced from the outset that the bomb had been placed in the entranceway of the pub."

He said the original inquest, a criminal conviction and the reports of the Historical Enquiries Team and Ombudsman failed to determine the facts or allay rumours and suspicions.

"These allegations are so serious as to require proper investigation to establish the facts and circumstances of these deaths despite the passage of time.

"The appropriate way to investigate these deaths and to provide a comprehensive public account is through a fresh inquest."

One man was convicted of all 15 murders in 1978.

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