The families of those killed and injured in McGurk’s Bar have been forced to begin legal proceedings against the Office of the Police Ombudsman Northern Ireland (OPONI).

The Office of the Police Ombudsman is supposed to provide an “independent, impartial investigation of complaints about the police in Northern Ireland” (source OPONI website). That includes complaints about the previous police force, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and its investigations of conflict-related deaths.

In October 2015, the McGurk’s Bar families raised a serious complaint about the present-day police force’s policy decision-making and investigation into the atrocity. 15 civilians were murdered, including 2 children.

My grandmother was one of the dead and my grandfather was badly injured. Paper Trail also supports many of the family members and has helped lead the search for archival evidence either missed by previous investigations or found by them and re-buried.

You can read how successful we have been here.

Nevertheless, none of this new evidence was considered by the previous investigations – including that by the Office of the Police Ombudsman. The new evidence completely undermines OPONI’s 2011 report into the atrocity so the families, rightfully, asked OPONI to consider this new evidence along with its complaint in 2015.

This complaint, therefore, regards policing past and present. It also regards the efficacy of the Office of the Police Ombudsman.

OPONI has repeatedly apologised to the families and promised much but delivered absolutely nothing. The Office could not tell the families why it has done nothing even though it promised them a closure letter in 2019.

The Office latterly said that it is seeking legal advice, but has since ignored requests for an update by one of our legal teams.

So, as a matter of last resort, the families have had to begin legal proceedings which is an absolute disgrace and symptomatic of the serious problems within the Office of the Police Ombudsman under the management of Marie Anderson.

You can read about the legal proceedings here.

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