Council votes to name street McGurk’s Way

Published Tuesday, 01 May 2012
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A street in north Belfast is to be renamed McGurk's Way in memory of the 15 people killed when a bomb exploded at a bar 40 years ago.

Council votes to name street McGurk’s Way
The memorial to McGurk's Bar was unveiled in December 2011. (© UTV)

The motion at Belfast City Council to change the name of Fishers Court was backed by Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance, UUP and PUP councillors.

Only the DUP voted against the change at Tuesday evening's council meeting, saying a name change could increase division in the area.

Gerard Keenan's parents were among the 15 people who died in December 1971 when a UVF bomb ripped through McGurk's bar, injuring a further 17 people.

"It's a great tribute and a reminder of what happened here 40 years ago and should never happen again," he said welcoming the change.

"The people in this area know who was in that bar that night. There's still family members living here," he added.

A previous motion brought before the council last year was defeated, but on Tuesday it passed 33 votes to 11.

People will now ask what is the significance of McGurk’s, whereas before we’ve always felt that McGurk’s was one of the forgotten massacres.

Robert McClenaghan

Robert McClenaghan's grandfather was the oldest person to be killed in the bombing. He said the name change was a "relief"

"Finally Belfast City Council has come to a decision, a proper decision and a right decision," Mr McClenaghan explained. "It shouldn't have been a contentious issue in the first place."

The bombing had initially been wrongly presented by the RUC as an accidental 'own goal' by the IRA but a Police Ombudsman's report into the bombing found police bias meant the atrocity was not properly investigated.

Families of those who died said they were disappointed that it fell short of identifying collusion.
In December 2011 a recreation of the bar was unveiled where it once stood in North Queen Street in Belfast.

Fishers Coiurt was renamed McGurks Way following a vote at Belfast City Council.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
9 Comments
Realist in England wrote (906 days ago):
Henry, you comment is sad, in a :o( kinda of way. In your obvious experience of the situation, you must have met Protestant republicans. I know I have - more than one in Belfast for starters. In the media spotlight that surrounds prominent politicians, I can think of several PSF members in the 6 counties (and the rest of Ireland) who are Protestant and hold fairly high positions. (I have less idea about RSF/32CSM/etc. members although I am sure there are equally non-sectarian). I do not look at a Protestant and assume anything about them based on their religion alone. Many will be Unionists, some will not be. Some loyalists hate both Catholics and Protestants who live in mixed marriages Unionist areas. To me, if a Protestant considers themselves an Irish Nationalist, then I will feel absolutely no differently towards them than I would to a Catholic, Muslim or athiest Irish Nationalist. They may be a nice person, they may not be. If someone is a hardcore loyalist extremist who wants to kill me and other random Irish people, then I will not like them - but that would be because of their politics, not their religion. Unionists seem really hung up on the religion thing - comments like yours only serve to reinforce their general delusion on the matter. I accept you probably don't mean it to come accross like that but, unintentional or otherwise, it is still unhelpful to sound bigotted as it only serves to reinforce their bigotry.
Rob in North Down wrote (906 days ago):
@Vee - What on earth has the Titanix gig to do with renaming a street? Did they rename a street after the Titanic due to a terrorist murder? Should we have streets named after IRA attricities - La Mon Lane, Darkley Close, Teebane Terrace? Or do you just want street names after Catholic victims?
henry in north belfast wrote (906 days ago):
@realist,listen expat, you dont have to point out to me the diffs of protestant/unionist/loyalist, when i see the first then i see all three just as they have claimed with their pam/nat/front, i know what the conflict was about i was there 5mins after the bomb went off i lived two streets away at the time, i knew people who lost family members in mcgurks bar, none of them were in the ira or anything else for that matter, it was just a bunch of locals having a drink and a bit of craic this wasnt a crack unit hitting the ira HQ with all their top brass so forget about this bombing having anything to do with any war, it was an attack from one side on the other and it was blewup because it was a catholic bar in a catholic area and remains so.
ex pat in south africa wrote (906 days ago):
Hey Belfast City Council,Its Her Majesty's Jubilee. Yeah you remember her...don't you ? Her flags still flying on your building . Well now that we can all rename our streets and in the intrests of shared spaces and all that,can we change Donegal Street to Coronation Street ? (pun intended) Thought not...too provacative you say ,might upset old Martin and co...suppose your right ! What a circus you lot really are except circus are only funny some of the times..
Vee in Belfast wrote (907 days ago):
For Rob in North Down You are entitled to your opinion - as I am But this is not nonsense! It is a case of remembering an atrocity that should never have been allowed to happen in a so-called civilised society (never mind colluded at). At last the Belfast City Council have moved on! As to having other places named after events that happened there, why not? We have, after all, been bombarded with memories in the last month of a so-called unsinkable ship that sank!
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