McGurk's Bar relatives lodge complaint about Lord Kilclooney Twitter comments

Pat Irvine, whose mother was killed in the McGurk's Bar bombing, and other relatives have written to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards over Twitter remarks made by Lord Kilclooney
Connla Young

THE daughter of a woman killed in the McGurk's Bar bombing is set to lodge two separate complaints about unionist peer Lord Kilclooney.

Former UUP deputy leader John Taylor, now a cross-bench peer, has been referred to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards by Pat Irvine and other relatives of victims of the bomb attack.

The campaigner has also asked her lawyers to write to prime minister Theresa May to convene the Honours Forfeiture Committee.

Ms Irvine's mother Kathleen Irvine was one of 15 innocent Catholics killed when a no-warning UVF bomb ripped through the bar in north Belfast in 1971.

Lord Kilclooney (80) was a Stormont minister at the time. Acting on advice, he wrongly said the atrocity was an IRA bomb that exploded prematurely inside the bar.

Last year the former Strangford MP refused to apologise and said his statement at the time was based on advice from "both police and forensic".

"To have ignored that advice would have been irresponsible on my part," he said.

In a lengthy Twitter exchange, the former UUP deputy repeatedly refused to apologise for his 1971 remarks and instead criticised Ms Irvine.

“You do yourself disservice by politicising the subject and lose sympathy,” he said.

In light of the exchanges relatives have asked the House of Lords commissioner for standards to carry out an investigation.

They have also called for him to be “removed from any and all positions he holds”.

Ms Irvine was just 14 when her mother was killed and her father John seriously injured.

She described Lord Kilclooney's remarks as “extremely offensive”.

“This is a man holding a life peerage and he is falling down on his duty.”

Earlier this month several complaints were made after Lord Kilclooney sent a tweet referring to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, as a “typical Indian”.

He later deleted the post and admitted it was a mistake but rejected allegations of racism and insisted he was “pro-Indian”.

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