Report supplied by Troops Out Movement
JUST TWO weeks after the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) released a report by their Historical Enquiries Team (HET) on the McGurk's Bar Bombing in 1971, Robert McClenaghan, the grandson of Phillip Garry, one of the victims, was campaigning in England.
McClenaghan was representing 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.
An Fhirinne and other relatives' organisations are calling for an Independent International Truth Commission into the slaughter of their loved ones. They believe that a British government inquiry could not possibly be independent - and neither could a government of Ireland one, as they have done little to uncover the truth of killings in the twenty-six counties.
Expressing no confidence in British investigative procedure Robert McClenaghan said:
"The HET is about the police investigating the police. A report into the McGurk's bombing was published by the HET two weeks ago. It is, as we suspected, a review of existing material rather than a new investigation."
Robert McClenaghan was in four English cities as a guest of the Troops Out Movement (TOM), the British-based organisation which campaigns for British withdrawal from Ireland. He showed a very harrowing video of relatives speaking of their murdered loved ones. It showed to people in England the reality of what was done in their name.
In August last year members of the Troops Out Movement met with Robert and Seamus Finucane, brother of Pat, the human rights solicitor murdered by a loyalist death squad in collusion with British security forces. The meeting was part of TOM's annual delegation to Belfast and they pledged support for the relatives' demands:
- End the policy of collusion
- Full disclosure by the British Government of all information on its policy of collusion
- Dismantling of the structures and agencies which implemented this policy of state murder
- An Independent International Truth Commission
McClenaghan spoke of many of the collusion cases and made clear the relatives' demands: "
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?"
The tour started in the North West with McClenaghan speaking in Liverpool and Manchester. In Manchester he 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. He continued on to the Midlands and spoke at meetings in Nottingham and Birmingham
At the 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 those who had colluded with the murderers.
Pearson said that there was a responsibility on everyone there, and everyone who knew about the collusion, to use the moving video to raise the issue in communities, trades unions and with the political parties and representatives.
She also referred to the government's reluctance to hold inquiries because of cost and pointed out while cover-ups cost millions, the truth costs nothing.
The meeting was also addressed by Louise Kilbride and Maureen Russell of the Telling Tales Theatre Group. They spoke on another collusion case, that of the murder of Patrick Shanaghan, about which they have written and performed a play Stepping Out of Line. They performed songs from the play at the meeting.
In Birmingham, Robert met Irish community representatives and was interviewed live for a full hour on the Unity FM Community Radio. He so impressed the presenter that he recorded Robert speaking on the history of the conflict in the north of Ireland for a programme which will go out on Thursday 3 July 5pm and can be heard outside Birmingham at www.unityfm.net.
The Harp free newspaper serving the Irish community interviewed him for their July edition. He also met members of the Asian community, one of which offered to put leaflets in his shop.
The tour culminated in Liverpool on Saturday 28 June at the James Larkin Society's march and rally. The event was to commemorate the 100 years of the Irish Transport & General Workers Union (now SIPTU). Robert was the main speaker and gave a strong speech on Larkin as well as the demand for truth and justice about collusion.
The Troops Out Movement can be contacted at: www.troopsoutmovement.com
Photos: 1/ Robert McLenaghan speaking in Birmingham; 2/ Robert McClenaghan with Sammi Ibrahem and Ibrar Khan of Unity FM
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