Belfast Telegraph

McGurk's Bar massacre: Relatives of those killed in terror atrocity 'to receive unedited report into bombing'

By Alan Erwin

Relatives of those killed in one of Northern Ireland's worst terrorist atrocities are to finally receive an unedited report into the bombing, the High Court heard today.

Counsel for the Chief Constable revealed that the dossier on the McGurk's Bar massacre will be handed over as soon as possible.

The confirmation brings an end to legal action mounted in a bid to gain access to the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) review.

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

An HET examination of the police investigation into the bombing was completed in December 2012.

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.

Last November a judge was told that a finalised version of the HET Review Summary Report would be given to the families.

But concerns were then raised that the document may have been rewritten.

Lawyer for Ms Irvine claimed the victims families were being re-traumatised.

However, a definitive breakthrough in the dispute was announced in court today.

Peter Coll, for the Chief Constable, said: "The situation is that the December 2012 Review Summary Report from the HET will be released and provided to the applicant as soon as possible."

Mr Justice Treacy then agreed to dismiss the judicial review on that basis.

Outside the court Ms Irvine's solicitor, Paul Pierce of KRW Law, said: "The family will now receive the original report in an unredacted form subject to a few minor details."

Mr Pierce insisted his client should have received the findings once completed.

"Instead, the PSNI have delayed access to the report which has only served to re-traumatise the families in their campaign for the truth."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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