Belfast Telegraph

Victim's disgust at Kilclooney over McGurk's bar bomb slur

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Lord Kilclooney yesterday refused to apologise for describing a pub bombed by loyalists as a "drinking hole for IRA sympathisers".

At the weekend the former Ulster Unionist deputy leader tweeted about the McGurk's bar attack, saying there had been a "political campaign to place the blame on the UVF". He added he had "never received evidence to support this".

The December 1971 bombing in north Belfast killed 15 people, making it one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles.

Lord Kilclooney, now a crossbench peer, was a Stormont minister at the time of the attack.

UVF terrorist Robert Campbell was arrested in 1977 and admitted his part in the bombing.

Yesterday 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."

Relatives of the victims of the bombing have claimed a deliberate campaign of disinformation was started by the RUC and British Government to claim the attack could have been an 'own goal' by the IRA and that there may have been suspicions that some of the victims inside the bar were behind the blast.

In February last year family members of those killed in the attack travelled to Dublin to present information on the bombing to the Dail's justice and equality committee.

Speaking to the Irish News, Pat Irvine - whose mother Kathleen Irvine was killed in the attack - said: "I'm actually disgusted with him (Lord Kilclooney), that he's so blatant with his hatred and bitterness.

"Unless he is prepared to come forward with any evidence of what he is saying, then he should be treated with contempt."

The peer has sparked controversy before with some of his tweets. Last October he claimed a vote for a united Ireland by a small margin could cause a civil war.

And in November he was criticised for comments online in which he referred to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as "the Indian".

Belfast Telegraph

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