Taylor “not in position to help”relatives of McGurk’s victims

Posted By: October 11, 2017

Suzanne McGonagle.Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, October 11, 2017

FORMER unionist minister John Taylor has said he can “only stand over the facts as they existed at the time” following calls for him to apologize over a statement about the McGurk’s Bar bombing in 1971.

Mr. Taylor, now a cross-bench peer Lord Kilclooney, said he was “not in a position to help” relatives of those killed as they seek further information.

Lord Kilclooney was a junior minister in Stormont’s ministry of home affairs at the time of the atrocity, and indicated shortly afterward it was an IRA bomb that exploded prematurely inside the north Belfast bar.

It was later confirmed to be a UVF attack and victims’ families have said the statement compounded their grief as it prompted speculation the dead might have included IRA members carrying the device.

Relatives have been engaged in a long campaign to clear their loved ones’ names and set the record straight.

Pat Irvine, whose mother Kathleen was killed in the bombing, publicly challenged the former UUP deputy leader about his statement during a lengthy exchange on Twitter at the weekend.

Ms. Irvine told The Irish News that she wanted him to say “Yes, you’re right, it was wrong”, but he would not do so.

Lord Kilclooney last night said his statement to parliament 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.

He also said he was “only further involved for another two months due to an IRA assassination attempt on my life and I was not involved in any new information about this explosion”.

“At the time of any new information it would have been given to the then minister responsible for security and certainly not to me,” he added.

“It is for that former minister to decide whether or not any apology is appropriate.

“I understand Ms. Irvine’s desire to have the matter clarified but I regret that I am not in a position to help.

“I can only stand to the facts as they existed at the time of my