3 July 2008 Edition
England tour's spotlight on collusion
THE grandson of one of the 15 people killed in the McGurk’s Bar bombing in Belfast in 1971 has been on a tour of four English cities to highlight the families’ campaign for an “independent international truth commission” into collusion between British state forces and unionist death squads.
The tour, hosted by the Troops Out Movement, came just two weeks after the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET) released its report on the McGurk’s Bar bombing.
One of those killed was Philip McGarry, grandfather of Robert McClenaghan, who undertook a string of speaking engagements on behalf of victims group An Fhirinne (The Truth), an organisation of relatives of people murdered by loyalist paramilitaries where there is evidence of collusion between the paramilitaries and British state forces. The McGurk’s bar attack (which also injured 17 others) was claimed by the UVF.
An Fhirinne is calling for an independent international inquiry because it has no faith in those initiated by the British and Irish governments, the latter because it has failed to get to the bottom of British Military Intelligence-inspired bombings in the 26 Counties.
Expressing no confidence in British procedures, Robert McClenaghan said:
“The HET is about the police investigating the police. Some of the most senior members of HET are former members of the original Stevens Inquiry team, who only managed to produce 20 pages out of a 20,000-page report. The HET report into the McGurk’s bombing is, as we suspected, a review of existing material rather than a new investigation.”
THE JUSTICE OF TRUTH
Robert McClenaghan addressed events in Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Birmingham.
Robert spoke of many of the collusion cases and made the families’ position clear:
“We are not talking prosecutions and revenge here. We want the justice of truth. Following any trauma, health professionals and counsellors speak of those affected needing closure. How can our families get closure without truth?”
In Manchester, Robert presented a video and written material produced by An Fhirinne and Relatives for Justice to the Irish archive at the Working Class Movement Library. He went on to lay flowers at the Manchester Martyrs monument and at their grave.
At a public meeting in Birmingham’s Council House, Mary Pearson, secretary of the Troops Out Movement, pointed out that the atrocities were carried out in the name of the people of Britain, who had in fact paid the wages of the state forces who had colluded with the murderers.
She referred to the British Government’s reluctance to hold inquiries because of cost and pointed out:
“Cover-ups cost millions; the truth costs nothing.”
The tour culminated in Liverpool on Saturday, 28 June, when Robert was the main speaker at the James Larkin Society’s parade to commemorate 100 years of the Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union (now SIPTU).