Army was given names of UVF bombers of Kelly's bar

Author Ciaran MacAirt
Connla Young

THE British army was given the names of two men suspected of involvement in a UVF bomb attack on a Catholic bar later blamed on the IRA, it has emerged.

Student John Moran (19) died 10 days after the UVF detonated a car bomb outside Kelly's Bar in west Belfast on May 13, 1972.

Loyalist gunmen also sprayed survivors with bullets after the explosion at the junction of Springfield Road and Whiterock Road.

Then Secretary of State William Whitelaw later claimed the bomb was left at the bar by the IRA.

However, documents recently uncovered by researcher Ciarán MacAirt, who works for the charity Paper Trail, reveal that the British army was given the names of two suspects hours after the attack.

Details of the Kelly's Bar attack are revealed in two recently uncovered British army log entries.

In one entry dated May 14, 1972 - the day after the Kelly's Bar bomb - a named member of the Parachute Regiment, who was on leave, told his superiors that if they went to an address in Belfast they would find a man, who was also named, "who knows rather more about Kelly's Bar than he should".

British army log entry

The following day another log entry reveals that an unnamed source who was in the Paisley Park Pub, believed to be the same off-duty soldier, reported that a named man "announced that Kelly’s Bar would go up in two hours".

The log also confirms "this did happen".

The same entry names a second man and states that the source is "convinced (named man)…was involved in expl (explosion)".

The log also suggests both men were related through marriage.

It is believed the Kelly's Bar device was planted by the same UVF gang that carried out the McGurk's Bar atrocity six months earlier.

British army log entry

The Kelly's Bar attack sparked a series of gun battles involving the IRA, loyalists and the British army which resulted in the deaths of four people.

Mr MacAirt, whose grandmother Kitty Irvine was killed in the McGurk's Bar bomb, said the British army documents "prove that the security forces had intelligence from one of their own that Kelly's Bar was a loyalist attack".

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