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Verlust der Unschuld: das Bombenattentat auf McGurk's Bar

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... Philip Garry would have been a merchant seaman, away on the boats for four or five six months My mummy was a doffing mistress she worked in the mill

My Dad was a roofer My ma was a housewife He was a baker's labourer He was a docker She was very loving, a very sensitive woman. A real family man. He was married with nine children. Great mother so she was, you couldn't get any better. He would have give you change, give you money for running to the shop, cigarettes, going to the bookies. He loved the kids, loved taking the kids down to daddy Christmas. We all loved him naturally and he loved enjoyed life. ... Life at that time was very hard for everyone. You had a whole series of events like the Falls curfew in 1970 and then the likes of internment especially in August 1971 which if you like traumatized an entire community with hundreds of people arrested and interned. All the place was in turmoil, you had bombs going off every day of the week, shootings, it was pretty chaotic for the people of Belfast at the time. I got used to what people would call the troubles I worked in the post office doing driving I did delivery up the Shankill and down the Falls Shankill road would have been clear, driving down the falls littered with burnt out cars and lorries. I remember standing under the lantern, with my dad one night looking out of the window, and my two brothers, watching the boys put the barricades up it was all flagstones they were using, and the next thing was a rattle of machine gun fire, and then all of a sudden nail bombs getting thrown. Basically that is how I came up at the start of the troubles, the first of it. A couple of days before news had just broken out, three major republicans had escaped from crumlin road jail and there was a lot of activity at that time. But you took this as read. It wasn't unusual to be stopped by the army and put against a wall to be searched You didn´t like it but you sort of had to go along with that activity and it wasn´t unusual for the area to see a fair number of army vehicles even in normal circumstances driving about the town. you had nearly accepted normality the army was going to be here for some time. I remember that morning my mother and father had been out shopping. It was coming near Christmas so my mummy had said what about your Christmas clothes and I said och mummy sure we will get them next week and she said now you never know what will happen before next week. That Saturday morning, we all got up we had our breakfast, my ma and da did the usual old thing, then the next thing they said they were away into the town, they went to their usual old spots and would probably end up in Sailortown and then worked their way into the town, and they usually called into McGurk´s now and again. There was always something about that night that I´ll never forget when it came to roundabout 8 o' clock and the place was in darkness and there was total silence Usually when you walked around a corner of the new lodge road or any street on the new lodge road you would have walked into a foot patrol. But there was nothing, the silence was deafening. you heard your footsteps as you were walking down the street. In them days there wasn't anything like tescos or asda so the shopping was done at your corner shop. So what they did every Saturday night they would have gone down to Lizzie's. They went in to lizzies and there was a woman being served. Lizzie had apparently said to mummy and daddy: give me a few minutes and we will get your stuff ready. My mummy says no, we will go on in here sure. By the time you've got them ready we'll be finished and we will be back again. So my daddy said they didn't wait that night. They went on into the McGurks and then that was it of course. I was upstairs in the bedroom, when I heard the explosion. It really shook, the house, and I mean shook the house. You might as well say they had shook the whole New Lodge. I can remember going opening the window, and sitting on the bay window, after the explosion went off and hadn't a clue, no inclination about anything. So I went out the front door, seeing people running about everywhere, and then someone started shouting, McGurks, McGurks, McGurks, got it. We saw the smoke arising so we automatically made our way down. I went down to the New Lodge, barrack wall, and the next thing I seen was complete chaos. As I got near it was a hill, I mean a hill of people Just one complete pile of rubble. With hundreds of people on top of it, trying to tear it apart to save people. And they were passing out the rubble one by one Someone shouted through a hailer, anybody from the docks, anybody from the docks. And the next thing was shouting here's one there's one over here I've got another one. And that was it. I didn't even know my mother and father was in it. My uncle Terry was called away by a woman coming up the street. What I didn't know at the time: the woman told him they had pulled mummy and daddy out of the rubble. And from that night, that was my life wiped out. ... ... ... We were watching the football highlights, when the programme was interrupted for a special news bulletin about the casualties in McGurks bar, and then a list of names, started appearing on the television screen and that is when my mother started screaming, and that's when my father jumped up out of his seat because that was the first time we seen Philip Garry’s name on the television screen, the first time we even realized, that he was dead. Her mum came up on early Sunday morning and told us the news. She could have been up a bit earlier but because she knew Margaret was expecting with a few weeks time didn’t want to do any excitement because basically we couldn’t have done anything he was dead. I was away and Bobby was murdered on Saturday night that happened and I didn’t find out to Monday. My brothers went around the hospitals and the morgue, back and forth. Nobody told them anything in the morgue or in the hospital. The people in the morgue, had taken a set of keys, from the pocket of this dead person, and it was actually my uncle Bobby, who was a Protestant and he left the morgue with a set of keys, went back to Stanhope drive to the house, and when he put the key in the door, and the door opened, that they realized that the body in the morgue was actually my grandfather. My brother in law identified the body and it was very hard for him too and it was worse on the family when they were told how he was. I know my father was burnt now, I know he was lying beside the gas line and he was actually burnt, my mother’s face was supposed to be badly done, with the rubble. I was able to indentify him okay facial wise and I will just leave it at that but what I had seen in the morgue it was not like you would see on TV It was a very dark room, there were obviously parts of bodies, not a whole, sitting on the floor on stretchers and stuff like that. I found that difficult there was obviously things had been recovered it looks to be those people. I was saying to myself, I was lucky to a degree that I was able to identfy him without much difficulty. It always stuck in my head afterwards that I had asked the director the funeral undertakers to do certain things, he said that would be no bother. His coffin and one other coffin were the only coffins of the 15 people that were open for people being able to come in at the wake and view … At least we could be with him, if you understand. I mean, people had the remains of their family in a box, which they couldn’t see. Which I thougt would have been very difficult for other families. Not once did a policeman or a professional trained counselor even come anywhere near us. Police didn’t even come to the door, hadn’t got the guts or the decency to come to the door to tell anybody where anybody was, what was happening to anybody. It was actually a friend of the families, identified my father, and then that was how we knew. My daddy was in a room of his own and my uncle Jim had to tell him that my mummy was dead. And I remember him crying. And that was the first time ever that I had seen sadness or a man cry. And he signed himself out because he was very badly injured himself. He had cuts and bruises and his body had been burned. The wake one of the brothers noticed that we had the wrong body, it wasn’t my father. And the simple reason why he knew that because he had insisted on having my father’s coffin opened. When it was opened he recognized my father’s wee finger, because my father lost his finger years ago, in the docks, and he noticed the other person's finger was fully there. McCain’s Body came to our house, and my father’s body went to Cain’s house, and you know yourself Belfast at that time, getting from North Belfast to West Belfast it was pretty chaotic. We eventually got there, with the help of nobody else, no cops, no undertakers, no this no that. We ended up getting the bodies sorted out. And that was a big knock in the face too. To go through this sort of thing. The coffin came in and my daddy said open the lid but they wouldn’t lift the lid off because my mother she was burnt alive. And just as they set the coffin down the army came in straight into the door demanding that the coffin lid be lifted open. Because they were searching for guns and ammunition. They had gone round the whole area the night of the bombing, searching homes of people who were killed. They were trying to link someone who had been killed in the bomb to the IRA in order to prove that it was the IRA who had done it. I remember my father slowly and quietly getting up from the chair he had been sitting in at the corner and he spoke to the army officer. The army officer went into the hall and into the radio came in again and saluted my father and turned to the army and said we are leaving now. My daddy during the war was a colour sergeant in the Royal Irish Fusiliers So the next day they came back with a wreath. For my daddy. There was a Welsh regiment I think the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, mostly Catholics. At one point they had actually come to the door, of the wake house, and said how sorry they were, to my grandmother and they came in and basically paid their respect. Which was something unique you wouldn’t have seen or you wouldn’t have heard of years later. But that was a humanitarian gesture, on behalf of some of the soldiers in the district at that time. They started burying them, two or three funerals in the morning, two or three in the afternoon. There were crowds there, hundreds and hundreds from the new Lodge right up the Falls Road. A massive turn out. Procession down Lepper Street, then New Lodge road, and along North Queen Street, along Carrick Hill millfield, walked the whole way to Milltown Cemetry. There was a few, and I am not saying all cops, gave a final salute, two or three, those two or three cops would have been old timers who knew the people from Sailorstown. You imagine getting towards the bottom of the Shankill and there’s hundreds of men and women and they have union jacks and they have Ulster flags and they are screaming and they are shouting. When the corpse was going over the other side of religion they were singing and dancing, which made it pretty bad for my parents and for all of us. There was a song in the pop charts at the time called bits and pieces, it was a hit in the pop charts in 1971. Each time a funeral went across Peter’s hill or the Lower Shankill they got the same treatment. Grown men and women were singing bits and pieces about my grandfather. 15 people are now dead, how could anybody come out and sing a song like that? That has stuck with me, stayed with me for 40 years or more. It had a profound impact on my life then. It was one of the biggest explosions and loss of life in Northern Ireland at that time. I said to myself: if people had seen what I had seen down in the morgue there would be no more bombings. When we were walking up the Falls Road behind a funeral I heard a bomb go off. Well so much for that thought I had there would be no more bombings. ... ... The one thing that stuck in my head ever since was the radio broadcast on the Sunday morning when the bulletins gave out there was a bomb explosion it was an IRA own goal. Within 12 hours senior RUC inspectors on the scene had to write up the duty officers report. And basically they started telling lies. They started saying the bomb exploded was brought to the bar by a known member of the provisional IRA to be collected by another known member of the provisional IRA to be taken to somewhere else. And the bomb had exploded prematurely, inside the bar. But where did all that come from? These stories were given out by Thiepal barracks over in Lisburn. They were told they were given statements out by the police and the army and that was it. Rather than go and investigate they were just given what to write and that was it. The very first talk was they were making a bomb inside and those who were inside knew what was going on. So they were all classed as bombers. Journalists got a statement from the RUC headquarters, that was lazy shoddy journalism. In a way they were colluding with the state instead of trying to do their own investigative journalism. The following morning the RUC put the desinformation into black and white. From our archive research this is where the desinformation began. This is where the black propaganda eminated from. The story was put out that it was an IRA goal well that was it - we were IRA we were republicans. We were terrorists. They caused it to themselves, they don’t deserve anything. You have eye witnesses reports literally within hours. If you go back to the RTE recordings at the time there is actually a statement from a young boy who was a newspaper boy and he has actually seen the car pulling up, the man getting out, going over, lighting the package and running back to the car and driving off and as it drove past him he actually saw the union jack sticker on the back of the car. So he is giving this evidence to the RTE and then to the police. But instead of accepting that evidence plus the evidence of other eye witnesses who witnessed the actual bombing itself. Instead of accepting that, the police just concentrated on this fictitious idea that it was a so called own goal, which was a heinous term to describe any atrocity, but that is what they kept calling it: an IRA own goal. At 14 years of age I was wondering, I didn’t know who to believe, I didn’t know what to believe. Listening to my father, there was nobody in the bar, we weren’t doing anything, we were sitting there. He talked about a smell and all that, my father was telling the truth. In the sort of pub Paddy McGurk ran you weren’t even allowed to curse, and that went for everybody. There was no politics, actually the RUC drunk in the bar. There was the Glenravel Street barracks, and the RUC would call in and have a drink, that is the sort of pub which Paddy McGurk run. It was a Christian bar you might well say. Paddy McGurk was a good man, didn’t allow any cursing. If he caught anyone cursing he had the swear box out, making you put money into it. I always remember Paddy McGurk, black and white television set, coming on the television saying not only did he pray for the people who had been killed and injured, he prayed for the people who had planted the bomb. You couldn’t get any better Christianity attitude about things. He had lost his wife, his daughter, his business, had been injured himself, his business had been wrecked, and he is coming out with a statement like that in a very short period after the bomb had happened. I just found that very uplifting that he could do that. So here you had 3 senior RUC inspectors basically fabricating a story. That was the initial lie about the bomb. As the days went on it grew legs. When Brian Faulkner had to go to London to explain what was happening, he then takes the lie with him, on the Monday. This isn’t me talking in that sense, we have official government documents stamped private confidential but under the 30 year rule or the 40 year rule in this case the families have got access to them. So we can prove categorically that the Prime Minister of the time starts embellishing the story. Even at one point in his written account, we have the minutes of the meeting with the British Home secretary, he starts to say that he as Prime Minister has now instructed the RUC not to investigate the bombers, but to put their time and energy into investigating the families to see if any of them have got IRA sympathies. Or if they have got IRA connections. So he is actually interfering in the biggest mass murder of people in the history of the 6 county state. ... ... ... On the 16. of December 1971, less than two weeks after the bombing, the RUC Chief Constable during a joint security committee meeting stood in front of the Northern Ireland Prime Minister, the Minister of State for Home Affairs and the General Officer Commander of the British Forces in the North at the time and told them directly that two of our family members were known IRA terrorists. This of course was a blatant lie and has never been substanciated in any evidence that had been presented to us by the HET or the police ombudsman. Within six or seven hours after that bomb went off, they spread them lies all around the world. And then the next day John Taylor, who was then Minister of Home Affairs, he stands up in Stormont parliament and says the same lie he has been fed by the RUC. And then the British army in their situation reports, we have a number of them, for the 6th and the 14th, where they are actually expanding that 5 of the people who were killed in the bar we now know - they must have been standing around it. They try to give that impression of 5 people standing around a bomb as if they were manufacturing it and it exploded. They were saying the forensic evidence now proves that the bomb was inside the bar, and it was being made by the people inside the bar. The forensic reports weren’t even made public until February 1972. In the days after the explosion all these people are concocting these stories. When I heard a couple of days later about McCrory, the young newspaper boy seeing someone at the bar, now that sounds more like what had happened. He had done an interview with RTE very shortly afterwards. When I have seen the interview, I thought well that seems more like what had happened. It wasn’t long afterwards when we were starting to get my thoughts together about how this all happened I realized that this wasn’t meant for McGurks. If the guys wanting to plant a bomb the one they would be wanting to hit was the Gem. The propaganda had been ready and set. The bomb went off and the propaganda would all come in ... it’s an IRA unit and an IRA bomb. ... ... Even when they started to get the forensics and the forensics were starting to prove that there were some of the people whose bodily injuries included shrapnel wounds of wood, in other words, there was a door between them and the bomb. And then the bomb exploded, blew the door apart and they were getting shards of wood as part of their injuries. And in fact my father in law and a couple of others had wooden splinters in their back which proved there was a wooden structure between them and the bomb. All that would have told you that the bomb was outside. You understand? That was never brought up, in fact it was repressed when it came to the inquest. What we didn’t know at the time which we subsequently found out I was really miffed about this point was that they had got other forensic reports as well, not only Dr. Hall's. They had got other reports about the clothing of the injured and the people who were killed. All the forensic of their clothing showed: not one of them had been near a bomb itself. We’ve seen the paperwork. They had that information weeks before the inquest. Yet they didn’t release it. They didn’t mention it at the inquest. It would have shown clearly, confirmed along with the forensic, the pathologist's report, that the bomb was planted by others. Yet they didn’t do that and I couldn’t take that in. Here was the people who were supposed to uphold the law, to be looking after the law. I can understand people making mistakes and doing things but deliberately holding information back which would have cleared the whole matter at that point in time. And they didn’t do that. And that kept on and on, even after Robert Campbell was convicted. In July 1977 Robert James Campbell was arrested for terrorist activity and questioned by police. ... he admitted he was in the car that has bombed McGurk's bar in 1971. He also admitted to planning the killing of John Morrow, a protestant worker, who had been driving a van in West Belfast, when it was attacked by his platoon. Mr. Morrow saved the life of many people in the back who happened to be Catholics, but he himself was killed. We were told unofficially that he was told to give himself up, because he killed a Protestant instead of a Catholic. In March 1976 the head of the CID in Belfast was given a list of 5 names of 5 UVF people, who were believed to be responsible for McGurk's. A year later when Robert James Campbell was arrested for something else but admitted to being responsible for McGurk's or being part of the team. If you go back and look at the original list his name is at the top of it. So if his name is true out of the five names what do you think you should do with the other 4 names? At the very least you would think they should be arrested and questioned you don’t have to be an expert on any of this but you think you would arrest them put them in 4 separate rooms and say look Campbell is squealing like a pig and he has named you. But they weren’t even arrested not even to this day. The confession that he made: they were sitting in this car waiting, they wanted to plant the bomb at the Gem bar, but they couldn’t, because there was always someone standing outside the Gem bar. So they had been sitting there from 8 o'clock and it came to say about 25 to 20 to eight they realized they were told to deliver that bomb and they were not to come back unless it was delivered. So they knew they had to get rid of it. They couldn’t sit any longer because the bomb could have been sweating itself the gelignite, so they drove up and they turned left and the next pub they came to was McGurk's bar. They didn’t want to admit that McGurk's was an atrocity committed by loyalists because - don’t forget - internment was in its infancy, the state was fighting the IRA, was arresting and interning Catholics, nationalists and republicans So to admit that the UVF had just murdered 15 men women and children would have forced a rethink and would have forced the state to start arresting protestants in other words UVF and UDA terrorists and putting them in jail as well. So rather than have to face that appalling vista as someone else would have said that instead of accepting that reality, they buried it. The same as they tried to bury our families. And blame them for something what they didn’t do. There was a policy in place at that time entitled "Arrest policy for Protestants" which dictated, protestants and protestant extremists were not to be interned. They were not interned until 1973. ... ... This stigma was still attached to our families, that they were part and parcel of a bombing team … People didn’t really know, was it a bomb planted by loyalists? So I think there was always that suspicion, especially as it was coming from government sources, and the media and the British army and the police and politicians ... The community had a certain reservation in connection with whether there was some truth in the propaganda which was going out. Because for some years afterwards certain people would not have talked to other people because they felt that this was true. If they had done a proper investigation, at the start, and they had been seen as impartial, in other words not being anti catholic, not being anti nationalist, you could have had a situation where a lot of people would have started to give more faith, more confidence towards the powers of the state, but instead you felt alienated, you felt aggrieved, you felt pushed away, you felt unheard. No counseling came to us at all. We weren’t offered anything whatsoever. Nobody. The only thing we had were our friends and family. And our neighbours. As my mother said it was through prayer that she was able to cope and my dad. I think down the years that there was no formal structures for any sort of professional help. And basically we were just told to get on with it. Make do. Oh yes, there was always the bitterness, I mean it was the deaths that they all got. But it never goes away, you know. You just have to try and carry on which is hard. I mean it is 40 years now and still it is going on. It was a lot of weeks afterwards. I remember getting up to use the bathroom I heard crying. Now, we lived with my granny at the time my daddy’s mummy. We always lived with her. And my daddy was crying and she was actually cradling him in her arms. Now remember, that was her baby, and he was saying, but it is my fault. I should have made her stay in the shop. Then he says, I couldn’t help them. This was a man, who was lying underneath a collapsed building. But he was guilty because she wanted to go from the shop into the pub. He was guilty because he couldn’t get her out. He kept pushing the rubble from him he told my granny and he kept pushing it. He couldn’t help Mr and Mrs Keenan and he was guilty because he was the only one of the 4 left alive. My daddy would have set in the chair, he had the one chair that he sat on and he would have dozed off. My daddy would have been sitting there going like this and doing that. It wasn’t actually until he died. Every time he closed his eyes, he tried to push the rubble away from him. When he closed his eyes, that was it. It all came alive to him again. The moment the bomb exploded our campaign for truth started. My peers and the other familiy members have campaigned tirelessly for decades now to try and clear the names of their loved ones. Their is a campaign here waged with dignity and constitutionally as well, it should be said. Aside from knocking on doors of politicians, letter writing and speaking to other campaigning groups we have had to spend most of our time going through public records, through military documents, through freedom of information in order to try for ourselves to source the truth. It has been left to us and our great friends in the Pat Finucane Centre and the Irish Rights Watch ... We are now into a generational thing, I mean, my grandmother has died, my mother has passed on and my elder sister who would have been involved and took a keen interest in the campaign has died. That is just our family. You replicate that across the other 15 families and you can actually see now at some of the meetings, the McGurk's family meetings, that you are now having grandchildren coming to the table. They want to learn more, they ask what can we do to help. It was especially noticeable for the 40th anniversary on the 4th December last where young children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the McGurk's bar people, who were murdered. They came forward and they helped, you know. We had this project to recreate the façade of the bar, back in place, the way it was. They were actively involved. So you can see it is coming down through the generations. 40 years has taken a terrible toll physically, emotionally and psychologically on the families. But you are getting inspiration by the fact that there are other ones prepared to take up the mantle and to step forward and say well we’ll take the torch now and we’ll follow it forward. I am not an educated person because in my younger days after my mother and father were killed, I never really went to school, but I have done wee bits and pieces here and there, … in the building game, and I'm a lorry driver, I have worked my way up, I’ve worked hard for it. This campaign has opened my eyes, big time, of what is actually going on behind closed doors, the lies that is actually going on ,….. I never grieved for my mother until this last lot of years, to be honest with you, until I really got in to the research of the McGurk's bar bombing. We have now had two reports by the Historical Enquiries team and two reports by the police ombudsman’s office. But the state in the form - in this case - of the chief constable, who wasn’t even here in 1971, he can’t bring himself to admit that what the RUC did in 1971 was wrong. Well that is just another stab, another knife through the heart. We got the ombudsman’s report and the second ombudsman’s report and the families felt vindicated: here at last was an official government report that says that the RUC was wrong. They didn’t use the word collusion which we objected to, but they did use "investigative bias" in terms of the RUC concentrating solely on the own goal theory and not even taking into account the possibility that the loyalists might have been responsible, that led to investigative bias on the part of the RUC. So we felt vindicated, we came out and we said that to the media. Almost within 2 hours the PSNI in form of Matt Baggott had issued 3 separate statements saying that they weren’t accepting the report … When we got the documentation from the RUC archives and stuff like that, there was certain information destroyed or can’t be found or no trace of, disappeared, but the British army they keep everything … We have tracked the stuff down … But the stuff we were looking for from particularly the RUC seems to have gone, walkies, can’t be found. Letters they had written to the pathologist ... we got the pathologist's letter, the RUC letter can’t be traced. The information connected with some of their witnesses about cross telephone lines, documentation which is witnesses reports. RUC: can’t be traced. Strange. RUC people who are now being asked to investigate the wrongdoings of other RUC people or other special branch people 40 years ago, to me that is nonsense. You can’t have the police investigating the police and it is the same with the ombudsman’s office. We at the start had more faith in the ombudsman’s office that we had in the HET, Now it is proven, that there is even people within the ombudsman’s office who are acting as gatekeepers. They are dictating that words like collusion can’t and won’t be used. These people are dictating how reports are being written by the ombudsman’s office and instead of being made public are then being rewritten to suit the agenda of the old guard … For us to blame the wrong organization for 40 years and to cover up what they did, it was wrong. Why are there flaws here and flaws there, what have they got to hide? A simple apology that was all we asked for and they wouldn’t have to to go through all of this. Personally I believe there was collusion, between the state, between the British army particularly military intelligence and the bombers. It has been hard to prove conclusively but then you need to be clear about your definition of collusion, what involves collusion: is it the British army supplying these people with weapons and explosives? That is collusion, but collusion can also mean withholding information and deliberately setting up a false narrative, in other words giving these people an alibi and a story, and that is basically what happened. We believe right there is somebody good there that has to come out to tell the truth. Somebody in there has to do it so this is our way of going down this road and seeing if they can help us. I am more convinced now that the McGurk's families on their own aren’t strong enough that we need the active support of other families of other campaigns of other individuals who can all come together and say to the state you need to resolve this issue or else we are going to end up in court for the next 20 years: separate cases, separate families taking individual court actions taking individual prosecutions taking individual civil actions ... To me this is the last unresolved issue. We solved the policing by and large, We solved the idea of people working together in parliament. But this is it the big one, which is hard to deal with: the legacy of the past. Until we get some sort of international independent body to deal with this, it is still going to drag on. Those with a vested interest that the truth doesn’t come out are still going to dig in their heels, still refuse the families access to documentation and to what is required for them to get closure. ... I honestly think that the politicians don't care about the victims. In the old days, when people were being murdered by both sides, they were the first ones to jump on the bandwagon to glorify themselves, but now, when victims are asking for help, they don’t want to know, … that’s across all parties. Nobody thinks about the survivors of the shootings. Survivors of the bombers. The bombings. Nobody thinks about them. I’m glad to see people sitting in bars these days where they are safe. The way things are nowadays to me is: I can’t go on with my future,. A lot of people would say to me: why don’t you forget about it. You know, it’s gone, it’s dusted. Forget about it. People just want to throw it aside. But our past is our history. And our past is our future. This, if you like, is unfinished business. You would like to go away and to be able to do something else with your life, But there is something you just feel compelled, that the dead cannot speak. We have to try and speak for them, and be their voice, and try to act on their behalf to say that these people were innocent. That these people deserve justice. Everybody’s entitled to know the truth. Catholic, Protestant … different nationalities were killed in these troubles too. Everybody is entitled to know the truth about how their loved ones have been murdered. And who was responsible for it. My grandmother would always say, she never wanted prosecutions, never wanted to see people go to jail. All she wanted was someone to come and say that her husband Phil Garry was innocent. He was just an ordinary catholic who went out that night for a pint of Guinness and was killed, that he wasn’t a bomber. The only thing we wanted was a simple apology and for our loved ones names to be vindicated, to have their innocence put back because their innocence was taken away, by an authority which was supposed to be out to protect them. They were all innocent people and just to get justice for them and clear their name, you know, that’s what people want. Now. I just want the truth. I am not wanting people to go to court and get hung and done, etc etc All I want is the truth to come out and admit the truth publicly. I would be happy with the truth because that is what we have been fighting for all these years: the truth. Our contention always was: the truth costs nothing. It is the inquiries cost millions. The best closure for us is for the state in the form of the police and the army and the government to admit, finally and publically to the world: what happened in 1971, our families weren't to blame. It was the UVF. And then on top of that it was compounded by the statements and actions of senior RUC, British army and British government ministers. I think society should turn round and say right, it is time to ask, what is going on here, the truth has to be told and that’s it. If these people can’t go on with the past, then we can’t go on with our future either, because the past is always coming up, no matter why. I would like people out there to come out and say: Right, let’s get these people together to ask them what they need. To give them a forum to speak. To be able to tell their story. So that the likes of the government, politicians, everybody come out and say, these people have suffered and they are still suffering. We need to get the truth out to these people. We need to make sure that this never happens again in this society. ...

Video Details

Duration: 54 minutes and 28 seconds
Country: Ireland
Language: English
Views: 54
Posted by: infonordirland on Sep 8, 2013

Relatives of those who were killed and injured in the McGurk's Bar bombing talk of that night and its aftermath. On 4 December 1971, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), exploded a bomb at McGurk's Bar in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The explosion caused the building to collapse, killing fifteen civilians and wounding seventeen more. It was the highest death toll from a single incident in Belfast during the Troubles. Despite evidence to the contrary, the security forces publicized the theory that a bomb had accidentally exploded while being handled by IRA members inside the pub. This inferred that the victims themselves were to blame. The victims' relatives talk about the campaign to clear their family members' names.

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