Following the publication in February of the Police Ombudsman’s report into the RUC investigation of the McGurk’s Massacre, the Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, rejected key aspects of the Ombudsman’s findings. He tried to suggest that the hurt caused to the families was as a result of ‘confusion’ and was not the direct result of a deliberate campaign of disinformation involving the RUC, British Army HQ and the NIO.
We met the Chief Constable within days of his statement and asked him to study the report and meet all of the families to let us know exactly which of the 13 findings he rejected and why. We understood that this would take a matter of weeks. Three months later the Chief Constable is still refusing to meet us or give us any explanation for his deeply hurtful statement. He has had the ear of Special Branch but has remained deaf to the families of the victims.
The lie, the spin, the disinformation in relation to McGurk’s Bar began with a report from the RUC Duty Officer on the morning after the bombing which claimed that a man with a suitcase had entered the bar and set the suitcase down to be picked up by another person. This is the RUC fabrication and pretext that the explosion was an IRA bomb-in-transit. This is the black propaganda that villified the good name of our families.
We have brought a suitcase here today for the Chief Constable. This symbolises the years of lies and deception. The suitcase that never was but which was invented by RUC officers. The IRA bomb that was in fact a UVF bomb.
That lie was followed by many others and this suitcase contains copies of the documents that spread the lies, the spin, the disinformation. Special Branch reports, British Army HQ intelligence summaries, John Taylor’s statement to Stormont, Prime Minister Faulkner’s briefing to Home Secretary Maudling and more (all available on our Research page).
The question has arisen of an apology from the Chief Constable on behalf of the police. We no longer wish to hear an apology. The time has past. After such a delay it would serve no purpose.
What we do want to hear from the Chief Constable is if he now accepts the report of the Police Ombudsman. No ifs or buts or excuses. And no more delays – for these delays have only exacerbated the trauma felt by our families.
We are no longer requesting a meeting with the Chief Constable. The onus is now on him as a public servant.
End Note: As always we thank our friends in the Pat Finucane Centre and the British Irish Rights Watch for their continuing support, never mind their time.