Fresh inquests ordered into deaths of 15 killed in McGurk’s bomb blast in 1971

Fresh inquests have been ordered into the deaths of 15 people killed in a bomb attack on McGurk’s Bar in Belfast. Two children were among those killed in the attack carried out by the UVF in December 1971. The families of the victims believe the security forces had knowledge of the attack in advance and could potentially have prevented it.

Attorney General for Northern Ireland Brenda King informed a family in the case on Thursday that she has ordered new inquests into the deaths. It comes just days before the Government’s Legacy Act will halt legal proceedings relating to Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

Relatives of McGurk's bar bombing victims have been campaigning for justice.

Legacy inquests which have not reached the point of verdict by May 1 will be transferred to the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR). Gerard Keenan, whose parents were killed in the bomb, said: “Our families welcome the historic decision of the Attorney General to direct a new inquest as all the families have campaigned with great dignity for over 52 years for scraps of truth and justice from the British state. “Like many other bereaved families now, though, we face the reality that the British state will not allow this inquest to go ahead as it desperately wants to stop us from discovering why our loved ones were murdered in the McGurk’s Bar massacre and how it failed to prevent it.” Solicitor Niall O Murchu, from Kinnear and Co, said the families will fight to repeal the Legacy Act. “This is a poignant reminder of the power of family campaigning and the fact that legal processes – however slow – can work if not shut down by the British State,” he said. “Even after more than half a century, an inquest may offer the families an opportunity for truth and justice, but now, of course, they first must fight for the repeal of the shameful Legacy Act.”

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