Below are the memories or messages of support that people from around the world have been kind enough to record.
Otherwise, if you wish to leave a message for the families please contact us at:
Please leave your name and nationality.
You may even have information that would be of importance to the ongoing investigations. If you do not have any confidence in the agencies that are performing these investigations, you can contact the families alone and anonymously.
Each and every family member of those who were slaughtered or injured in the McGurk's Bar Massacre has fought for the truth. Each has campaigned in their own way just as each struggled with their personal grief. Below, though, is how the individual has become a member of a mass movement.
By taking the time to visit our site and by remembering the lives of our loved ones, you too are part of this campaign. Thank you.
Support from around the Globe
↓ From Pat Irvine, the youngest child of Kitty Irvine, Béal Feirste
Sitting in the family home, from where my mother's body was removed many years ago, I am quietly reading the many letters of support and comfort from around the world. From my heart I thank you.
It's hard some days to remember just the simple things a mother and daughter shared those many years ago. It is sometimes hard to remember her face and voice.
The memory that will never leave me is the memory of death and destruction. The hill of death through which a mass of people clawed their way to save life. Watching and listening to the screams, to the shouts of "I think I've found one!", "Over here!", "There's another one!". Little did I know that one was my father. Walking back up to the house I saw people coming from my home.
When I arrived at the door my granny told me to come in. "Granny, where's my mummy and daddy? I can't find them. Father Blaney told me to come home". I had not known at that time about my parents. Father Blaney did. My uncle and I were on our way down to the scene when one of the neighbours called him over. He turned to me and told me to go back home.
Standing in the kitchen I heard trough the hum of voices "God help those wee children losing their mother like that. What about Johnny? Is he alright?" The rest of the evening is just a blur of people coming and going, looking at my brother and me with pity. Fourteen years of age looking at everyone around me wanting to scream, to wake up from this horrible nightmare, a nightmare that the families of those murdered have continued to live for two generations. A nightmare that will come to an end with the truth.
Again, from my heart, I thank you and I thank the people of the New Lodge for saving my father and the other survivors of that terrible night. I thank our neighbours for all that they did for my family. I thank you for all your kind words.
↓ From Mr. Michael Connarty, Labour M.P. and Nephew of Philip Garry
I hope to come over to visit my aunt who still lives in Belfast some time when I can draw breath. I would obviously pursue my enquiry with the authorities when I am over.
The victims and the families of the murdered at McGurk's Bar are not forgotten.
Best Wishes, Michael Connarty MP, Linlithgow and East Falkirk, Scotland.
↓ From Mr. Joe Lavery, Belfast, Ireland
To those who lost relatives that terrible night, I can recall that evening very clearly.
I was visiting my uncle Patrick Foots (RIP) who lived in Unity Flats at the corner of Unity Street. He always insisted on leaving me around to get a taxi or bus beside Liam Cray's shop in Clifton Street. As we walked towards Clifton Street the explosion went off ahead of us in North Queen Street, we both ran across into North Queen Street and made our way to the scene as people ran to join us. It was awful to see and quite unbelievable.
Along with a load of young men about my age we clambered on top of what was a smouldering pile of rubble and black dust. At that time there were no soldiers or police at the scene but I remember some elderly man climbed up to where we were standing. He seemed to know the layout of the building and told us to start digging with out bare hands in a particular spot. I could not believe it but soon someone shouted he had hold of somebody's hair and we all dug around him holding the hair and shortly dragged a man out.
An ambulance arrived and took him away. I never ever knew if he survived or not and after that I never saw anyone else being dug out. In fact, when I left the scene a digger with a shovel had arrived as it was felt there was no more hope.
I heard shooting coming from the direction of the bottom of the New Lodge towards Tigers Bay and I think a soldier was killed during this (Major Jeremy Snow died on the 8th December due to injuries sustained shortly after the McGurk's Bar Massacre).
I did not realise during all of this that the bar was McGurk's as I knew Paddy McGurk quite well. In fact he was the Vice President of our Gaelic Athletic Club, the Ardoyne Kickhams. In closing I just felt the need to say I have never forgotten that evening and always remember everyone who died in my prayers.
↓ Noel Sweeney, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
I am very sorry indeed for your loss and the loss to your family. My sincere condolences.
↓ Stephen Cunningham, Monaghan, Ireland
After reading through the website I am ashamed to call myself human. It is a shame that we live in a world full of hate, dictated by such a small few that it can affect us all.
To the families and friends, I can only extend my sincere sympathy and let you know that I feel that this website is a fitting and informative tribute that can only grow in strength. May you continue with your campaign for justice and tell many more the true story of that fateful night.
↓ Shane Kelly, Hastings, New Zealand
After reading this website it does give horrific evidence that this was total collusion. To all that were involved in the massacre may they be forever remembered and may the truth be brought to light.
↓ Greg Clark, New Jersey, USA
On my many trips to the New Lodge I have passed the fitting monument at the site of this horrific act giving me cause to reflect.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, may they rest in peace. God bless.
↓ A Personal Memory by Joe Graham, Béal Feirste, Ireland
It was on the evening of the 4th December 1971 and I was returning to the A.1 Taxi Depot in York Street for whom I was driving at the time.
Along North Queen Street I came and turned right into Great Georges Street past the side of McGurk’s Bar. I got about another 200 yards when a huge bomb went off. At that time you had heard so many there was no question of you wondering what that big bang was. I stopped the car almost immediately. I could not have driven on for within a split second the whole air was filled with dust and smoke: I couldn’t see out of the windscreen, or indeed any window of the car. I got out of the car and walked back up toward North Queen Street where the bomb seemed to have exploded, I could see nothing with the dust filled air but I could here feet running and screams. Whether it was from people wounded in the bomb or screams of shock of people arriving at the horrific scene I couldn’t say.
I got to the corner and where McGurk’s Bar stood just two minutes ago there was a waste ground with a big heap of rubble, bricks dust and protruding pieces of timber. Crowds gathered in the deserted street that I had just driven down what seemed like only seconds before. There were men and women from nearby houses and police army ambulance and firemen poured into the street from every direction only. By then we earlier arrivals had began digging with our hands and throwing bricks from the pile out onto the street behind us. On the spot where I and another guy were digging, which would have been close to where the door of the bar had been, we soon came upon one of the buried people, a man, who had obviously been in the bar at the time of the explosion. Together we lifted him out from the debris, the other fellow took his arms and shoulders and I his lower body , one arm around his waist and the other, I thought, under his legs at the knees, but I soon discovered he had only one leg, the other lay somewhere buried in the debris.
The strange thing is I can’t say I was horrified by this discovery, because events and the necessity to keep digging overtook any personal feelings, thoughts or emotions. He was a young man and seemed conscious so I asked him his name, and he murmured Roddy Corley, I for some reason thought he was saying Roddy McCorley, the name of an Irish patriot who was executed back in 1798, and therefore thought he was rambling in shock. I later learned that his name was indeed Roddy Corley (Roderick McCurley in some reports); I kept in touch with him through the remainder of his short life. I witnessed a particularly sad and tragic incident while in his company about a year later, but I don’t think here is the place to tell it of it. As for the other fellow who helped me extricate Roddy from the ruins I have never met him from that day to this. Sadly I would not know him if I met him on the street.
Fifteen people died in that terrible bomb explosions, often referred to as The McGurk’s Bar Massacre or The McGurk’s Bar Atrocity, but I always point out that they are two different things. The Massacre was the murder of those fifteen innocent people. The Atrocity was the hurt inflicted on the relatives of the murdered by those in authority who readily jumped to accuse one or more of them of having been responsible for the bombing: the media, British Army, RUC and even a leading Nationalist M.P. For thirty five years now the members of the victim’s families have had to live with the allegations that their loved ones could have had a hand in their own death and the deaths of the other fourteen people. That they were present in that bar when a bomb was being primed, or constructed, or waiting for collection to be planted at a target elsewhere but went of prematurely. With all the authorities’ statements pouring out from Security Sources etc is it any wonder that some people readily accepted that it was an Own Goal, a sick term given to a bomb explosion that went off accidentally among the bombers. John Taylor, a Unionist politician, in that holy of holy places, Stormont, confirmed from the government’s inquires that it was an own goal, by saying, “forensic evidence supports the theory that the explosion ... Took place within the building" In 1975, four years after the bombing, Lieutenant-Colonel George Styles, perpetuated the lie when he wrote in his book, Bombs Have No Pity: “From an examination of the wreckage we worked out an area where the explosion happened and it seemed to be well into the pub. Normally if a pub is attacked the explosion occurs fairly near the entrance. We estimated the size of the bomb at around 50lb of explosive and this would have been a fair weight to carry into a pub undetected. Thus I reckon it was another own goal. My theory was that a terrorist was instructing some I.R.A volunteers in bomb making when it went off. I pictured the scene as the terrorist and his pupils sat around a table with the devise on the floor between them... We could never be certain that is what happened but it is the theory that fits all the known facts”.
There was no wide wave of sympathy for the families of the victims as there was and still is for the more recent outrage, the Omagh Bombing, nor indeed was there to the family of the Quinn family whose little boys were incinerated by a loyalist fire bomb at Ballymoney, which at times points to a sick and manipulative society. Yes I dare say a politically manipulated society that can be so selective in their condemnation in offering of sympathy. Recall that in the case of the Quinn Family outrage, only the driver of the vehicle, just like the McGurk’s Bar case, was presented in court! One well-informed reporter even said, from information from a reliable source, that a Catholic man found shot dead in the Market area of Belfast a few days after the bombing had been executed by the Provisional I.R.A because he had been the man who failed to turn up at McGurk’s Bar to pick up the primed bomb. Of course this turned out to be rubbish, and to be fair, the first reporter to rubbish this further attempt to perpetuate the own goal theory was David McKettrick of the Irish Times He also placed the blame fairly and squarely at the feet of the U.V.F, this was years before a guy called Campbell had been charged and admitted he was in the car that brought the loyalist bomb squad to McGurk’s Bar, the bombers themselves never were caught, or should I say, arrested (there is a difference).
At one point a shadowy group called the Empire Loyalists, a name of convenience known apparently to have been used by the U.V.F at one point claimed responsibility, but it was strangely dismissed as a claim?. Campbell was also charged with the shooting dead of John Morrow, a Protestant, on the 22nd January 1976.
When one considers Lt. Col. Styles', he is plainly saying since none of the survivors were charged with involvement then four or five of the victims of the McGurk’s bombing were involved with the bombing conveniently among the dead were the guilty! And the dead can not defend themselves against the scurrilous and malicious remarks, and their loved were ones left to carry guilt.
The media, years later and to this day defend their stance by saying they only acted on information given by them by reliable authorities sources, this is investigative journalism? It may all now be accepted that a grave error was made although the flood of apologies to the families from all concern do not match the ready flow of accusations heaped on those fifteen innocent people. Never once were the other strange circumstances surrounding the bombing ever published or aired in the media. Look back to the events in Belfast that evening of 4th December 1971....
Consider how easily that loyalist bomb was delivered to the bar... On that night security was at its highest, due to the fact that three top republican prisoners, Martin Meehan, Dutch Doherty, and Hugh McCann had escaped from Crumlin Road Prison. These were no low key republicans, they were major figures in the fight for Irish Independence and as such the British had pulled out all stops to counteract the propaganda value of the escape by quickly attempting to catch the three, as I am sure anyone would agree they would try. One could not drive 400 yards without running into a road check and having the vehicle thoroughly searched and yet a loyalist car containing four men and a 50lb bomb, was able to cruise through all that security to plant its deadly luggage, then returned safely to their base. Not one description was gathered of any of the other men in the car, not even from the driver? It seems the U.V.F were invisible that night. Is it any wonder people suspected collusion between the security forces and the Loyalists?
Recently I was interviewed by an English detective attached to the Police Ombudsman Office here in Belfast, a polite man, but he left me with little doubt that despite any the goodwill from that office in investigating the mass murders little will every occur to bring justice to the memory of those innocent people who perished in that evil bombing. Justice will never be seen to be in practice until the so-called "authorities" in this corner of Ireland present the truth about the McGurk Bar Massacre... AND THEY KNOW THE TRUTH..!!!
Mr. Joe Graham, Belfast, Ireland
Editor of Rushlight: The Belfast Magazine www.rushlightmagazine.com
↓ Joe Campbell, Ireland
I read your website with interest and sympathy and fully support your quest for truth and justice.
There have been many cowardly injustices perpetrated in the name of the state, either directly or through their agents. This is one of those. Aside from the media, which tends to go for a one off story with no guarantee of them having the will to examine the issues, the Ombudsman's office is a platform for the voices of those whose lives were taken by the state. There is no guarantee that the State will provide the support or information necessary to establish truth but don't give up!
I will watch your campaign with interest. Good luck to you.
↓ Marie Irvine, daughter of Kitty Irvine, Belfast, Ireland
I would like to thank my nephew, for all the work he and my brother, Sam, and my sister, Pat, have put into this website. Looking through it just breaks my heart but it is a fitting tribute to all the innocent victims, not only those murdered in McGurk's Bar, but those who have been victims throughout the 'Troubles'. The Truth Will Out.
↓ Annelies Hofmeyr, South Africa
Nothing will replace the lives taken away, but I hope that all the families involved will find peace and that justice will prevail.
↓ Bernadette Holden, (Originally Belfast) Monaghan, Ireland.
A Child's Memory
I had this web page address emailed to me and can only say that the faces and ordinariness of the people who were massacred on that night will haunt me for some time to come. Faces that were happy, just trying to get through this life as best they could, no big agendas - a pint with your friends or family on a Saturday night laughing and smiling - as only Northern Ireland people can and thank goodness still do.
I am so full of sadness I have no words to describe how I feel.
On that night (I was just ten years old) I stayed with my aunt and grandmother in Dawson Street. In the morning when I went to get the milk from the window sill there was blood on the door and doorstep. My aunt wouldn't let me tell my granny about the blood because it would upset her ... but what must have occurred was that someone had stopped - to try to understand, to catch their breath, to cry, to contemplate what they had just been involved in, who knows, but the blood dropped from their hands onto the doorstep (obviously trying to get bodies out from the rubble) and left an indelible memory on a child's mind. I wish peace to all the relatives left holding only memories and faded photographs.
With Light & Love,
↓ Jim Lynch, Ontario, Canada
I will pray for you this Christmas that you may finally know the truth. Never give up hope. Take care and God Bless to you all,
↓ Leah Cummings, Newfoundland, Canada
My thoughts and my prayers are with you. I read through the site and am appalled at the way in which this atrocity was allowed to happen. With all my heart I hope that peace will come to you and your Ireland.
↓ Margaret Henry, Virginia, USA
Just recently in The Washington Post there was an article about police collusion in Belfast. It was not about the McGurk's bombing, but all the same, illuminating. I was completely taken aback when I read the story of the bombing and the follow-up. I would very much like to hear from you. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
↓ Mr. J Molloy, Belfast, Northern Ireland
I was 15 years old at the time of these murders but I still remember my parents talking about it. We are Protestants living in east Belfast and I remember well my father saying that he was ashamed to be a Protestant.
My brothers and sisters were brought up to respect people, no matter their religion. Even many years on I feel thoroughly ashamed of what happened that night and I hope that the families know that there were many Protestants who at the time were sickened by the bombing.
I sincerely hope that the families get justice and that the evil, cowardly thugs who carried this out are brought to book for their crimes. That also goes for the people who tried to cover it up.
↓ Julia McCorley
From a great niece of Roderick McCorley who was horrifically injured in the blast. I pray there will be justice. You are all in my prayers.
↓ Martin, County Cork, Ireland
My sincerest condolences for what happened on that dreadful night.
I cannot begin to imagine the pain it has caused you. May all of you be assured that your family and friends who had their lives taken that day are now somewhere beautiful watching over you.
↓ Jacinta Casey, Dublin, Ireland
After reading your website I fully support your quest for the truth and justice. I would like to express my sincere condolences to all the victims' families.
↓ Clint Jury, Copacabana, Australia
Growing up in Australia, I never had to endure such atrocities and could not understand the struggle.
After reading of this and hearing numerous other incidents perpetrated, at least in part, by the government upon its citizens, anger and sadness overwhelm me. I cannot imagine the pain and betrayal felt by the victims and their families.
The fact that you go about your daily lives in a manner of goodwill and peaceably seek the truth is a testament not only to yourselves but to the Irish spirit. I wish you all the luck in the world in the hope that justice prevails, the victims names are cleared and the people involved at every stage are brought to task.
↓ Genevieve Ann Woods, Belfast, Ireland
I admire your dedication to this project and wish to express my support and sympathy to the families of the victims.
↓ Turlough Brennan, Vancouver, Canada
May Justice prevail. May you find peace of mind and satisfaction that the deaths of your loves one are not in vain. May God forgive those who carried out this terrible carnage of the innocents. May Ireland be free of British misrule and have ever-lasting peace. God Bless.
↓ Martin Hall, Yorkshire, England
I just want to show my support for your continuing efforts to bring to light the reprehensible behaviour of the British Government in the recent history of Ireland.
↓ Edward Óg Kane, Belfast, Ireland
From a son of Edward Kane, who was killed in the McGurk's Bar Massacre (another son, Billy, was killed by British paramilitaries on the 15th January, 1988).
My thoughts are with all the families. Not only was my dad murdered, but also my kid brother, Billy. So, as a family, we know what heartache is. Our kid was only 19 when U.V.F. gunmen shot bullets into him whilst he was lying on our sofa, watching television. We know collusion was involved and no-one will tell us differently.
Again, thoughts to all the families.
↓ Tony O'Neill, Belfast, Ireland
The truth will come out one day. Keep your heads held high. The victims of McGurk's, as well as the other innocents, are never forgotten.
Respect to all the families of British injustice in Ireland.
↓ John Kirk, Greysteel, Ireland
I am originally from a small village in County Derry, called Greysteel (scene of another massacre by British agents) but have been living up in Belfast for the last six or so years.
I just want to give my support to your campaign for the truth, and to pass on my sympathies to the families of the victims of this needless act of violence that came about because of collusion.
↓ Aidan Hanna, Béal Feirste, Ireland
The Truth Say what you want,
Mean what you say,
Remember the darkest
Lights of that day.
Be who you are,
Do as you please;
The truth is going to
Bring you to your knees.
The truth is that
Which we all need,
The truth is the end
Of a mystery.
The truth is out there
You will see;
The truth is out there
For you and me.
The truth is out there,
The search is not in vain;
The truth is out there,
Out there in the rain.
Say what you want
But you better believe -
The truth is a goal We all must achieve.
Strong-willed hearts will always win over the weak.
↓ C. Linda, NW Ohio, USA - the Burns clan, originally from Dublin
May God Bless!
Even in 2009 you all are remembered by fellow Irish Americans who, like many others, arrived during the famine.
Sam Millar (novelist), Béal Feirste, Ireland
Always thinking of the terrible tragedy of that night. Never forget it.
I will continually try and highlight the plight of the families and their loved ones murdered in any discussions or events I attend or through my writing.
Marie Chalker (McCallister), Bulgaria
This was a night I will remember for the rest of my life.
I was walking through McCleary St when the bomb went off It was very frightening and people came rushing out and shouting it was McGurk's bar. My dad appeared and said that my cousin Jimmy Cromie was upstairs playing with the kids from the bar. I was 17 at the time and when I think of it I also remember the smell.
I wish you well in your campaign.
Carol Leathem, Melbourne, Australia
I just discovered this site accidently. I didn't realise the story surrounding this tragedy.
I was born in Belfast but came to Australia in Nov 1971. My uncle Thomas Mc Laughin was one of those killed. Thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by this.
Liam Sansome, Belfast, Ireland
Just reading this website has shown the many troubling memories that were the troubles here in the north of Ireland.
I was born in 1970, one year after the troubles began, and I had never heard of the McGurk's bombing.
This has really saddened me and my prayers are with you for justice to the end!
Maura Ryan, Cork, Ireland
I was 10 years old and living in Spamount Street on the day of the massacre.
I will never forget the sound of the explosion and the panic and fear on the men's faces as they ran towards the bar in a desperate effort to help.
I sincerely hope you get justice for your loved ones. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Christy Walsh, Béal Feirste
Justice has no expiry date. Wishing the families every success.
Niall Ó Murchú, Béal Feirste
Regarding the latest pronouncements from the Police Ombudsmans Office (8.7.10):
Once again here we have another example of a British Agency working towards British ends, namely that of covering up the murder of civilians by the British establishment. . As the saying goes, 'the dogs in the street know' that the British military were responsible for McGurk's.
Ombudsmans office: a disgrace
From all the families of those murdered or injured
We cannot begin to express how much strength and succour we draw each day from your messages or thoughts, so thank you on behalf of all of the victims' families.
In no small way, therefore, you too have become part of their campaign for truth.