Belfast Telegraph

Son of McGurk's bomb victims launches legal fight over inquest refusal

By Gillian Halliday

The son of a couple killed in the 1971 McGurk's Bar bombing has launched a legal bid to overturn the Attorney General's decision not to approve a fresh inquest into their deaths.

Terence Keenan - whose parents Edward and Sarah Keenan were among 15 people killed in the UVF massacre 47 years ago - yesterday confirmed he is seeking a judicial review.

The legal proceedings have been made after a ruling by Attorney General John Larkin in July not to proceed with a new inquest.

Kinnear and Co Solicitors, representing Mr Keenan, have lodged papers in the High Court initiating proceedings against Mr Larkin yesterday.

Mr Keenan said the move was necessary in order to "correct" the "open verdict" that remains in place.

"Every right-thinking person knows that this decision was wrong," Mr Keenan said of the Attorney General's ruling.

"There has been a vast amount of new information made available in recent years that was never put before the original inquest."

Over the years, families of the victims have alleged that the state was involved in a cover-up in the aftermath of the bombing.

In 2011, a Police Ombudsman investigation concluded the RUC failed to properly investigate loyalist responsibility for the north Belfast bombing because they were biased towards attributing blame to the IRA.

The findings, however, were later questioned in light of a probe by the Historical Enquiries Team which claimed that there was "no evidence" of any bias on the role of RUC officers.

Mr Keenan's solicitor Niall O'Murchu stressed that Mr Larkin has a "significant role to play" in the families' quest for the truth.

"There are hundreds of documents now available that need proper and just examination in a court of law and he cannot simply ignore them," he added.

Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin welcomed Mr Keenan's legal bid as a positive step in the families' quest for justice.

"It is wrong that the Attorney General refused a fresh inquest into the McGurk's Bar massacre. Therefore, I welcome confirmation that this is now being challenged," she said.

"These families have been campaigning for truth and justice for 47 years."

Insisting that there are "still too many unanswered questions" surrounding the bombing "both before and after" the attack - including alleged state involvement - the MLA added a fresh inquest could provide resolution for families.

Belfast Telegraph

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