Northern Ireland

McGurk's RUC criticism 'Nazi campaign' claims DUP man

Criticism levelled at the original police investigation into the UVF murders of 15 people at McGurk's Bar in 1971 was like "a Nazi propaganda campaign," a DUP MLA has said.

Jonathan Bell was speaking at a Policing Board meeting on Thursday.

He said criticism of a single event must not be allowed to become part of a campaign to besmirch the name of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The chief constable has questioned a Police Ombudsman's report on the bomb.

The report, published two weeks ago, criticised the RUC investigation into the murders, concluding that the RUC had been guilty of "investigative bias".

Last week, relatives of those who died said they had been vindicated.

Their mood quickly changed when the chief constable issued a statement setting out his response.

Matt Baggott said other reports had reached different conclusions and had not found evidence of investigative bias.

The chief constable held a private meeting with some of the relatives on Wednesday to discuss their complaints, and further meetings are planned.

On Thursday he said there had been a frank and valuable exchange of views at the meeting.

"I reassured the families and their representatives that the investigation remains open," Mr Baggott said.

"We'll be looking to any opportunity to take that forward, because no-one would want better to bring people to justice than myself and my colleagues in the PSNI."

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey criticised Mr Baggott's previous comments on the report.

"People are saying from last week that not only the families got a slap in the face from the remarks made by yourself," Mr Maskey said.

"It's not just about the remarks, it's about the rejection of the inherent point of the ombudsman report, which was that those people were actually innocent victims."

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