Northern Ireland news

McGurk's Bar relatives seek release of information at tribunal

Ciarán MacAirt pictured in London 
Connla Young

RELATIVES of people killed in McGurk's Bar believe authorities may be trying to protect an informer.

Ciarán MacAirt made the claim after a two-day freedom of information tribunal came to an end in London on Friday.

Mr MacAirt, whose grandmother Kitty Irvine was killed in the 1971 UVF bomb attack, lodged an appeal to the independent First Tier Tribunal after authorities refused to release information connected to the case.

Last month the campaigner, who runs the Paper Trail charity, said a document showed that the British army was aware the bomb had been left at the door of the bar rather than inside as was originally claimed.

That information was only made available after the tribunal ordered that it should be handed over.

Relatives now want access to other redacted details.

Mr MacAirt said the tribunal process has been of benefit in the past.

"The closing arguments and the closed procedure afterwards confirm that there is other McGurk's Bar information being withheld and it involves an informant or it refers to relevant information and the prevailing security situation at the time of the bombing,” he said.

“The tribunal had already overseen the disclosure of ground-breaking evidence to the families which proves that British Army Headquarters and the police knew that the bar was attacked so the process has proved invaluable to our campaign for truth.”

Mr MacAirt's solicitor Christopher Stanley also said the National Archives and MoD “relied upon the protection of the identity of agents and informers and in the interests of national security”.

The tribunal is expected to deliver its judgment next month.

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