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Terrorism: Northern Ireland

Question for Northern Ireland Office

UIN 178582, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will commission a review into the accuracy of information given by Government Departments in the aftermath of the 1971 bombing of McGurk's Bar in Northern Ireland.

Answered on

16 April 2021

The bombing of McGurk’s bar was a terrible tragedy. The investigation by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland found that erroneous suggestions that republican paramilitaries were responsible were made in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, noting that "Inconsistent police briefings, some of which inferred that victims of the bombing were culpable in the atrocity, caused the bereaved families great distress, which has continued for many years."

The Police Ombudsman acknowledged that the prevailing situation in Northern Ireland at the time presented significant challenges to policing but concluded that the RUC investigation was not proportionate to the magnitude of the incident, which was one of the biggest losses of life during any incident of 'The Troubles' until the bombing of Omagh in 1998.

The Police Ombudsman also noted that "The tragedy for families, survivors and police is that the present process of seeking information, truth and justice is fragmented and inadequate." The Government remains committed to introducing legislation to address these issues and delivers for all those affected by the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past.

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