Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for TruthThe McGurk’s Bar Bombing

Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for Truth

By Ciarán MacAirt

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On the cold night of 4th December 1971, British extremists from the UVF attacked McGurk’s Bar, a family-run pub in North Belfast. A bomb they left on the doorstep ripped through the building and killed 15 men, women and children, making it the country’s most devastating massacre of innocent civilians since the Nazi Blitz. Nevertheless, these victims were to become the forgotten victims of a dirty war.

Government, British military and RUC police sources immediately blamed the bombing as an Irish Republican own-goal even though the full weight of evidence, including a witness who saw the bomb being planted, proved it was a terrorist attack. As the families prepared to bury their loved ones, the State drip-fed black propaganda into the intelligence stream, media and public consciousness.

Since then the families have fought tirelessly and constitutionally to clear the names of their loved ones – for their only crime was the faith they followed.

About the Author

Ciarán MacAirt’s grandmother, Kitty Irvine, was one of those murdered in the McGurk’s Bar Massacre. His painstaking, meticulous and immensely detailed research has uncovered historic documents hidden in archives which cast a cold light on collusion and cover-up by the State. It is a paper trail that goes to the highest levels of the Government, police and military and proves that society today must learn from the lessons of history.

His research has featured in TV, radio and documentary programmes and in 2011 he presented his testimony to the powerful US Helsinki Commission on Capitol Hill, Washington DC.

About Colin Wallace

As a member of the British Army’s top secret psychological operations unit, Colin Wallace specialised in managing and disseminating information… or disinformation. He was working in Army Headquarters when news of the McGurk’s Bar bombing broke and has been helping the author translate historic documents that have lain undiscovered… until now.


Author and screen-writer, Viv Young, writing for the New York Journal of Books

“Greek dramatist Aeschylus claimed, ‘In war, truth is the first casualty.’ Yet thanks to determined writers like Mr. MacAirt the truths behind this particular tragedy have been resurrected.”

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Peadar Whelan writing for An Phoblacht

“MacAirt, whose grandmother Kitty Irvine was one of those killed, by pulling together this information has lifted the lid on Britain’s dirty war in Ireland. It is a book that must be read.”

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John Ó Néill writing on Slugger O’ Toole

“MacAirt applies a methodology that others would do well to study – roll your sleeves up, dig deep, dig smart and keep digging. As an addition to the literature it is essential reading for any serious student of the North’s recent history.”

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Brian Mario O’ Clery writing on Political World

“What stands out above all else in The McGurk’s Bar Bombing however, is the sheer level of sourced research presented, backed up and cross referenced throughout, all in an articulate style which never strays into over-elaboration or confusion. This is not likely to be the only print of this enlightening book”

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Author, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain

“The book represents seven years of meticulous work. The case he presents in the book for collusion after the fact by the British Army is unanswerable… This book tells a greater truth about Britain’s shameful role in Ireland”

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Veteran Republican, Gerry O’ Hare writing for the Bobby Sands Trust

“The families of the atrocity now have an excellent book written by the grandson of Kitty Irvine, who died in the attack… Ciaran’s diligence and massive research is a credit to his determination to expose the lies and criminal actions of the RUC and British Army.”

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Kieran Hughes, North Belfast News

“MacAirt’s place at the heart of the campaign informs this excellent account of the McGurk’s Bar atrocity.”

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Trade unionist and Director of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Mark Langhammer, writing in the Irish Political Review

The McGurk’s Bar Bombing connects the re-foundation of the UVF in the 60s with the present in a way that enables us to see the use that the State has had for this group of partisans.

Read the review (page 11 of PDF)